Startups sustainability technology

Kering supports new sustainable textile start-up accelerator

Sustainable textile start-ups focused on everything from mushroom leather to nanotechnology tracers are among the first cohort for Plug and Play and Fashion for Good’s new accelerator programme in partnership with Kering.

The Plug and Play start-up winners
The Plug and Play start-up winners

Sustainable textile start-ups focused on everything from mushroom leather to nanotechnology tracers are among the first cohort for Plug and Play and Fashion for Good’s new accelerator programme in partnership with Kering.

A total of 12 young businesses have been selected from over 250 applicants, based on the impact their innovations can have on the supply chain. They vary from new raw materials that will reduce fashion’s environmental impacts, to alternative production methods that will increase clothes’ longevity, and the development of new processes that will enable closed-loop product lifecycles.

They include Agraloop, which collects waste from fibrous food-crop production and transforms them into textiles; Amadou, which is a renewable, biodegradable and low-environmental-impact leather made from mushrooms; Dragon, a novel water purification technology that operates off light energy; Dropel, a bio-degradable polymer that repels watery or oily substances;
ICA Bremen, which uses nanotechnology to introduce scan-able tracers into fibres of organic cotton; and MySource, which is a network matching fashion professionals to the connections and information they need to build successful, sustainable businesses.

Also securing a place are MycoTex, another mushroom-based textile shaped on custom-fitted moulds; Pili-bio, which uses microorganisms in a bid to phase-out petrochemical, non-renewable dyes; RePack, which is looking to reduce the carbon footprint of e-commerce packaging by 80%; Sundar, a supply chain platform connecting manufactures and suppliers of textiles, trims, accessories and garments with brands and retailers; Tersus, a water-free technology offering a replacement to conventional high-polluting fibre and apparel cleaning processes; and Tipa, a biodegradable and compostable packaging solution made from bio-plastics.

“These 12 exciting start-ups are helping the world reimagine how fashion is designed, made, worn and reused. They were chosen because they can all play a pivotal role in achieving the Five Goods of a new, transformed fashion industry: Good Materials, Good Economy, Good Energy, Good Water and Good Lives. The Plug and Play – Fashion for Good Accelerator nurtures and funds early-stage ideas, business models and technologies likes these to scale them and embed them into the industry. We can’t wait to get it started,” said Leslie Johnston of C&A Foundation, the founding partner of Fashion for Good.

The 12 start-ups will now enter a three-month programme during which Plug and Play, Fashion for Good and Kering will support them in scaling-up their innovations by providing mentoring, training, networking opportunities and other valuable resources.

“The key to sustainable progress is innovation, and the ingenuity and endless possibilities that these 12 start-ups have brought to us is truly impressive,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs of Kering. “We look forward to working closely with them to achieve operational practicality, and at the scale required for widespread adoption so that we can support the transformational change that is critically needed in our industry.”

Kering’s aim is to stimulate disruptive innovation, transform conventional processes in luxury, and enable the widespread adoption of sustainable practices.

The wider Fashion for Good programme also includes an apparel acceleration fund that aims to catalyse access to finance, an open-source guide proving that Good Fashion is feasible today and shows brands how to embrace it, and a launchpad exhibition to inform and inspire the public to be part of its larger movement.

It’s also heavily focused on a sense of community along with its other partners beyond the accelerator supported by Plug and Play and Kering, including C&A, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, IDH the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Impact Hub Amsterdam, McDonough Innovation, and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC).

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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