GREAT IDEA, NOW WHAT?: As any entrepreneur or inventor can attest, ideas can be abundant but executing them? Not so easy.
With the next installment of the Circular Fashion Games set for Eindhoven, Netherlands, from Jan. 25 to 27 and in Amsterdam from Feb. 6 to 10, there will be no shortage of next-generation prototypes, apps and strategies that spring from the various challenges. With time being life’s greatest commodity, organizer and Start Up Mix chief executive officer Johnny Kerkhof has been trying to do some advance legwork. He has been speaking with some companies about the need to find time to meet with the participants afterward.
After last spring’s CFG in Eindhoven, a few winners met with companies about the prospect of bringing their ideas into production or to better understand their visions. Waste2Wear’s electrospinning for textile winning called for spinning microfibers into nanocloth, by using end-of life polymers like plastics recovered from the ocean. Closet.Pal, meanwhile, is an app with sharing and repairing platforms among other features. Both groups had follow-up meetings. “That wasn’t enough to get organizations aligned to absorb the ideas of the participants,” Kerkhof said.
In addition to supporting the teams post-Games to fine-tune and potentially integrate ideas, CFG is exploring expanding to Los Angeles or New York. To illustrate how used clothing can be used for a variety of purposes, Kerkhof said the chairs in his office were made partially from upcycled Army clothes and jeans. His office walls were also lined with material from upcycled jeans. Planq Design Studio, a previous winner of the Amsterdam CFG, created those furnishings and decor. The company also designed 120 Ubu chairs, made from upcycled denim jeans and solid walnut, for Tommy Hilfiger’s MH5 building in Amsterdam, and worked with a partner to custom-made interiors others for the designer’s denim stores, according to Planq cofounder Anton Teeuw. That was done in collaboration with Dan O’Kelly studio. “This is what you get if you apply a process to young talented people. You can get unexpected results which create beautiful things that accelerate the circular economy,” Kerkhof said,
Sponsors like Lenzing, Vaude and Sympany are on board for the next rounds of CFG. Sympany, which collects, recycles and shares clothing, is exploring the possibility of creating a metropolitan collection system for used clothing to upcycle in a geographically bounded area. That effort is being examined with city officials in Amsterdam, Kerkhof said. “That’s an interesting one. If you nail it in Amsterdam, you can nail it in New York. If you nail it in New York, you can nail it in Shanghai.”