Startups technology

London’s CFE announces latest cohort of fashion tech pioneers for incubator programme

Higher is one of the new entrants to the CFE FashTech Pioneer programme
Higher is one of the new entrants to the CFE FashTech Pioneer programme

The Centre for Fashion Enterprise, part of London College of Fashion, has announced the latest fashion and technology start-ups entering its six-month incubator.

The FashTech Pioneer programme, as it’s called, is supporting everything from wearable technology to a fashion rental business, on this, its third time around.

Included are AI-enabled fashion styling platform, Becoco; immersive AR company Meshmerise; customisable accessories brand, Okautumn; sample tracking and editorial platform, FavourUp; luxury rental business, Higher; and heat technology wearable brand, Emel + Aris.

“We have worked hard to build a brand and launch our first product and now, with the help and insight from CFE, we look forward to building a solid international business. We are particularly excited about working with CFE on technology innovation and collaborations with designers and other innovators,” said the Emel + Aris team.

Becoco’s founder, Katharina Vandamme-Eybesfeld, commented: “CFE’s program is the perfect fit for BECOCO – after having secured the tech grant from Innovate UK we are now looking to further develop the marketing and branding side of the business, and extend our network within the fashion industry.”

Each of the start-ups were selected on the basis of “having a unique and scalable business idea, the potential to disrupt existing industry models, and being at a stage where they can benefit from right time interventions”, according to the CFE team.

Part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the start-ups get access to a wide range of business support in areas such as branding, pitching, digital strategy and marketing.

The CFE is continuing in its 14th year supporting emerging London-based talent. Previous intake on its design programme has included the likes of Erdem, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou. Earlier FashTech Pioneers (a programme started in 2015) include wearables company Studio XO, customisable bridal wear platform Prim & Clover, and just last year crowdfunding platform Awaytomars, among others.

business Editor's pick product sustainability

Stella McCartney on innovating the fashion industry from within

sustainability Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney’s regenerated cashmere

As a fashion designer, Stella McCartney has always challenged the way in which things are made, actively turning to innovation in order to operate a global business built on sustainability.

Today, 53% of her womenswear collection can be considered sustainable, up from 30% in the early days. Her new menswear line is at 45%.

Speaking at this year’s annual Kering Talk at London College of Fashion, she said that technology and innovation are essential to grow those numbers further, and importantly that it’s about time the rest of the industry got on board.

“Every other industry is having to question how they manufacture,” she explained. “It’s part of innovation and growth.” Within that, fashion is one of the more harmful industries on the planet, she added, and yet it’s not yet acting on it. Indeed, according to other sources, fashion and textiles reportedly account for 10% of global carbon emissions each year, use a quarter of all chemicals produced worldwide, and come just after agriculture in the amount of water they consume.

“The fashion industry has a lot to do,” McCartney noted. “It has to think differently, it’s the only way forward.”

Head over to Forbes to read the full story on how McCartney is performing within parent company Kering’s new Environmental Profit and Loss accounting system, some of the new sustainable programmes she is running through the materials used in her business, and how the broader group is supporting the next generation of designers in this same field.