Fashion for Good, Plug and Play and Kering have wasted no time in selecting the textile start-ups to be funded through their Plug and Play—Fashion for Good accelerator.
Looking to move the luxury and apparel industries toward a more sustainable future, the start-ups were selected for their comprehensive approaches to the textile supply-chain and innovations ranging from developing new raw materials that will reduce fashion’s environmental impact to alternative production methods to increasing clothing’s longevity. The innovations for renewing, reusing and reinventing materials are seen as a step toward creating closed-loop product life cycles.
Kering, the parent of brands including Gucci, Puma, Boucheron and Stella McCartney, is the first founding anchor partner of the Plug and Play—Fashion for Good accelerator based in Amsterdam. The Fashion for Good initiative was set up with an initial grant from the C&A Foundation.
From more than 250 applicants and a shortlist of 20, the final 12 selected for the accelerator come from a variety of fields and academic backgrounds from around the world.
Agraloop transforms into biodegradable fibers the waste it collections from the fibrous food production of hemp, flax, banana and pineapple. The new environmentally friendly material can be processed using conventional cotton machinery.
A leather alternative developed by Amadou that harvests the skin of amadou mushrooms has been piloted in a collection of footwear and accessories. The renewable, biodegradable and vegetarian shoes passed aesthetic and durability tests, with textiles up next.
MycoTex, another mushroom-based textile, eliminates the need for spinning yarn, weaving and other production processes. The biodegradable MycoTex clothing can be composted after use.
Other breakthroughs include a new type of reusable packaging, water-free technology for dry cleaning garments, microorganisms that can reduce the level of toxic chemicals used in textile production, and a biodegradable polymer that repels water and oil to extend the life of a garment.
William McDonough, a founding member of Fashion for Good and author with Michael Braungart of “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” said “fashion is about beauty after all. How can something be beautiful if it makes your customers sick or harms the environment? Rather than design products for an end use, we should design them for their next use, or they can return to their biological form.”
Under the accelerator, the start-ups will participate in a three-month program during which Plug and Play, Fashion for Good and Kering will support scaling-up their innovations by providing mentoring, training and networking opportunities.
The accelerator’s second edition will take place later in 2017, with applications already open to start-ups.
“With the direction of Fashion for Good and Kering, the 12 companies we have accepted will make an impact on a global scale,” said Saeed Amidi, founder and chief executive officer of Plug and Play.
“These 12 exciting start-ups are helping the world reimagine how fashion is designed, made, worn and reused,” said the C&A Foundation’s Leslie Johnston. “They were chosen because they can play a pivotal role in achieving a new, transformed fashion industry.”
“The key to sustainable progress is innovation and ingenuity and endless possibilities such as these 12 start-ups have brought to us,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering. “We look forward to working closely with them to achieve operational practicality and at the scale required for widespread adoption so that we can support the transformational change that is critically needed in our industry.”