Manufacturer of crafted denim team at Blackhorse Lane Ateliers

LONDON — Ten U.K-based fashion brands from across the fashion, textiles and technology sector, with a focus on innovation and sustainability practices, have been given more than 1.2 million pounds to develop their initial concepts into fully fledged business plans by the Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology (BFTT) Small to Medium Enterprises Creative R&D Program on Monday.

The prize money will be given to Ananas Anam, a company behind the innovative natural textile Piñatex made from pineapple leaf fiber; Anna Glover, a design studio specializing in bespoke wallpaper; AwayToMars, a collaboration platform to crowdsource creativity; Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, a community-based manufacturer producing denim garments in East London; Chip[s] Board, a bio-materials development company; Doppelhaus, a textile developer using undervalued nonwoven materials; Elvis & Kresse, an accessory brand using material that usually would go to the landfill; Segura, a cloud-based system of ordering and compliance products: Tengri, a design house, specializing in using rare and natural fibers and Tibor, a weaving company in the interior fabrics market.

The recipients, chosen from more than 80 applicants who had submitted their business plans in round one to secure funding, will also receive a package of support, including mentoring from leading academics across the partnership, hands-on specialist creative and technical support as well as ongoing project management and strategic business support from across the BFTT team.

Jane Harris, program director at BFTT, said the initiative is intended to creatively and technically address the challenge of maintaining growth in the crucial early years of business, whilst also providing support for much-needed innovation, and sustainable growth, especially in these challenging and rapidly changing times.

Textiles made using pineapple leaf from Ananas Anam

Textiles made using pineapple leaf from Ananas Anam.  Courtesy

“The diversity of projects selected are indicative of the breadth of innovation potential in the fashion sector. The dynamism they naturally bring as small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), and the bespoke academic expertise provided by BFTT is a perfect mix to deliver industry-changing innovation which cements a vision for a more sustainable fashion system that supports growth here in the U.K. and around the world,” she said.

Harris added that SMEs are critical to the economy and critical to the creative sector, making up more than 95 percent of creative businesses in the U.K, and “BFTT’s SME Research and Development Program seeks to highlight the value and impact SMEs can have in our sector and on the economy when provided with the right type of financial support and research expertise.”

Led by the University of the Arts London in partnership with some of the U.K.’s leading Universities, the five-year, industry-led project BFTT is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Creative Industries Clusters Programme (CICP), funded by the government’s 80 million pounds Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

CICP aims to boost productivity via creative R&D, backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.