​Innovative Solutions Win Fabric of Change Award to Tackle Fashion Industry’s Sustainability Problems

​Innovative Solutions Win Fabric of Change Award to Tackle Fashion Industry’s Sustainability Problems

Kristie Wang's picture

Three extraordinary initiatives received Fabric of Change awards yesterday at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, hosted by fashion icon Amber Valetta and fashion writer Derek Blasburg. The Summit convened key players seeking to solve the industry’s sustainability challenges.

Grants totalling €100,000 were awarded by C&A Foundation, which, in partnership with Ashoka, launched the Fabric of Change challenge last year to spotlight and support fresh approaches to transforming the fashion industry. The winners are:

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 polyesterand 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.

Youth Innovators - €10,000: Christian Birky, Founder of Lazlo, Jonas Rosenberg Lessa, Co-Founder of Retalhar, and Marianne Caroline Hughes, Youth Blogger.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges from a pool of 10 Finalists that emerged from more than 300 online entries from 55 countries. Judges included Amy Hall, Director of Social Consciousness of EILEEN FISHER, Inc., and Leslie Johnston, Executive Director of C&A Foundation. (See below for the names of all members of the judging panel.)

“Is it possible to eliminate waste? When 70-85% of our clothes end up in landfills and 415 billion pounds of plastics are consumed each year, we need the innovative technologies developed by Evrnu and Ambercycle,” Johnston said. “When taken to scale, these two companies can help bring new life to old plastic and textile waste.

“Nest could be a game-changer for brands, because right now there isn’t any way to accurately evaluate and monitor artisan supply chains for ethics and sustainability,” Hall said. “Their methodology could enable brands like us to support artisan supply chains.”

In addition to a Grand Prize of €50,000 and two prizes of €20,000, the winners will each receive an additional prize sponsored by Opportunity Collaboration and the Cordes Foundation! Each will receive a Cordes Fellowship to attend Opportunity Collaboration in Cancún, Mexico in October, 2016. 

All ten Finalists and Youth Innovators will attend a capacity building session facilitated by Ashoka, C&A Foundation, and Fabric of Change network experts.

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.

“With their visionary work, passion, and perseverance, social entrepreneurs give us all a reason to be optimistic about the future of fashion,” Stephanie Schmidt, Managing Director at Ashoka, said. “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,” 



Above: Marianne Caroline Hughes, winning Youth Blogger