Tommy Hilfiger has selected Apon Wellbeing and A Beautiful Mess as winners of the 2019 Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge. The program’s final event took place Thursday at Tommy Hilfiger’s Campus of the Future in Amsterdam, where six finalists pitched their concepts to a jury panel including several social entrepreneur experts and global Hilfiger executives.
More than 400 applications were received for the second edition of the global program, which began in May and aims to support entrepreneurial start-up and scale-up stage businesses developing solutions that promote inclusive and positive change in fashion.
“From start to finish, I have been inspired by this talented group of social entrepreneurs whose innovations are making the fashion landscape more sustainable and inclusive,” said Tommy Hilfger. He noted that the company will continue to mentor and foster the entrepreneurs.
“The winners of the second Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge represent the future of the fashion industry,” said Daniel Grieder, chief executive officer of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe. “As our industry continues to rapidly evolve, it is important to collaborate, both within and outside of the fashion landscape, and bring forward innovations that have the ability to transform our businesses for the better.”
Apon Wellbeing, founded by Saif Rashid, was awarded 75,000 euros. The Bangladesh-based scale-up opens fair-priced shops carrying daily necessities inside factories, with products offered at a 10 percent discount to external prices and a points program that workers collect for free health insurance and health services.
Dutch start-up A Beautiful Mess was also awarded 75,000 euros. The business runs a creative space to assist refugees in realizing social and economic independence by creating sustainable apparel products.
The winners also received a yearlong mentorship with Tommy Hilfiger’s and INSEAD’s global experts, as well as a place in the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program.
A third start-up, Sudara, was selected as the “Audience Favorite Vote,” and was awarded 10,000 euros. Based in India and the U.S., Sudara is a scale-up pajama and loungewear company that develops professional and sewing skills in women who have escaped from or are at high risk of being sex-trafficked.