Three extraordinary initiatives were celebrated on May 12 at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the world's largest event on sustainability in fashion.
The winners of the Fabric of Change challenge were awarded grants totaling €100,000 by C&A Foundation, which together with Ashoka, launched the innovation challenge last year to spotlight and support fresh approaches to transforming the fashion industry.
Evrnu™ Social Purpose Corp – €50,000 Grand Prize Winner: Transforms cotton garment waste into fiber for the creation of new, quality clothing.
Ambercycle – €20,000 : Engineers microbes that eat waste plastic and produce the raw materials for 100% renewably sourced polyesters. Rather than starting with petroleum, waste plastic becomes the raw material for new fabric that has the same qualities as virgin polyester — and it's cheaper to produce.
Nest – €20,000 : Develops compliance standards to ensure women artisans benefit from ethical and economically viable sourcing partnerships with leading retailers.
Additional prizes totaling €10,000 were awarded to youth innovators: Christian Birky, Founder of Lazlo, Jonas Rosenberg Lessa, Co-Founder of Retalhar, and Marianne Caroline Hughes, Youth Blogger.
The winners were selected by an international panel of judges from a pool of 10 Finalists that emerged from more than 300 online entries from 55 countries.
The seven judges – including Amy Hall, Director of Social Consciousness of EILEEN FISHER, Inc., Helio Mattar, CEO of AKATU Institute of Conscious Consumption, and Leslie Johnston, Executive Director of C&A Foundation – represent a cross-section of the industry.
In a next phase of Fabric of Change, C&A Foundation and Ashoka will elect new Ashoka Fellows, who will receive three years of financial support for their work and access to a global network of changemakers. “We want Fabric of Change to become a platform for social entrepreneurs to connect with each other, scale their impact, and build more bridges with the industry to open up new opportunities. This is the power of collaborative entrepreneurship," said Stephanie Schmidt, Managing Director at Ashoka.