Fabric of Change Challenge Finalists Announced!
Join us in congratulating the 10 Finalists of Fabric of Change! Ashoka’s shortlisting team selected these top entrants from more than 300 entries from 55 countries and based on the challenge’s criteria of innovation, impact, and sustainability. We believe that solutions at every step of the fashion value chain are needed to drive a true transformation of the industry. Thus, we called for innovative solutions that tackled a spectrum of areas--from farms to manufacturers to brands, and from environmental impact to working conditions to conscious consumerism.
We are thrilled to announce that all Finalists will receive an invitation and travel stipend to attend the Fabric of Change Summit, which will be held in Copenhagen in conjunction with theCopenhagen Fashion Summitin May 2016. The Copenhagen Fashion Summit is the world’s largest event on sustainability in fashion and features leading voices, innovators, and policy-makers working to transform the industry. Three winners will be announced at a special event during the Summit.
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.
The Finalists are:
- ALINHA (Brazil): Visits sewing workshop, then diagnoses and proposes organizational, health, and safety improvements. ALINHA also helps its network access markets that reward their ethical operations.
- Ambercycle (USA): 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--only cheaper to produce.
- Banco de Tecido (Brazil): A fabric “bank” where fabric scraps can be deposited and where reusable fabrics can be withdrawn or purchased by the kilogram. This model keeps textile waste out of landfills and creates a circular habit of reusing--rather than accumulating or discarding--resources.
- Ethical Apparel Africa (Ghana): Partners with locally owned African factories to help them develop lean principles—like reducing waste and optimizing energy use—and to become socially and environmentally conscious, while remaining competitive.
- Evrnu Social Purpose Corp (USA): Pioneering a technology to recycle post-consumer cotton into pristine fiber that can be used to manufacture new garments--all with a minimum use of water and zero farmland.
- Home at Work (Indonesia): Designing a healthy live-work environment for garment industry communities. Community-owned Fashion Shophouses & Production Gardens provide housing, workspaces, and education. Home at Work taps urban development and fashion innovation as powerful drivers behind increased welfare and well-being.
- The Nest Artisan Advancement Project (USA): Develops ethical compliance standards adapted for decentralized artisan production models, and works to ensure ethical and economically viable sourcing partnerships between retailers like West Elm and artisans.
- NOVABORI (Mexico): Leverages a network of industry players to co-develop fashionable fabrics with recycled PET, cotton, polyester, and wool fibers.
- Piece & Co. (USA/India): Creates sustainable employment for women artisans around the world by connecting their unique products to brands and retailers like Nike, J.Crew, and Nordstrom.
- Worker Well Being (Community Empowerment Solutions, USA/Haiti): Empowers textile workers and community members to gain the skills, knowledge, and resources to improve their wellbeing. Co-creates innovations that provide workers’ families with light, clean water, vision solutions, savings and investment know-how, and tools to build better futures.
Stay tuned for our announcement of the Fabric of Change Youth Prizes, and for blog posts delving into the Finalists’ powerful approaches to transforming fashion into a force for good.
** Want to innovate like a social entrepreneur to transform the future of fashion? Check out our new report, Social Entrepreneurs’ Perspectives That Are Transforming the Apparel Industry, to discover how social entrepreneurs are rethinking problems and unlocking systemic change.
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Image credit: NOVABORI