Fashion District launches innovation challenge ‘Manufacturing Futures’

Fashion District launches innovation challenge 'Manufacturing Futures'

Fashion District launches innovation challenge ‘Manufacturing Futures’ 09/02/2024 Fashion District, a hub for fashion innovation in east London, has announced the return of its Innovation Challenge: Manufacturing Futures to find emerging businesses with innovative solutions to revolutionise the retail and fashion manufacturing industry for the better. At an event held in London on 8 February, Manufacturing Futures revealed they will give start-ups and SMEs the chance to win a £15,000 cash prize to grow their business model, and the opportunity to pitch to some of the industry’s leading brands and innovators. UKFT’s CEO Adam Mansell is one of the judging panel, alongside Gillian Lipton, Sustainability Director at Alexander McQueen; Ella Gould, Head of Sustainability and Innovation at Selfridges; Chelsea Franklin, Research and Development Director at PANGAIA; and Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, UAL. The applications are now open and the shortlisted proposals will be brought in front of a judging panel in July 2024. Helen Lax, Founder of Fashion District said: “I am incredibly proud to bring back the Innovation Challenge: Manufacturing Futures for its second iteration. We welcome all applicants who are passionate about technological innovations and sustainable solutions, such as materials innovation, digital innovation, manufacturing processes, supply-chain and logistics, traceability, circular economy and end-of-use … Just to name a few! There are many aspects our industry needs to improve, and I look forward to learning more from the start-ups on how we can do it.” Winners from the previous Innovation Challenges include Lone Design Club, a platform where independent brands and conscious shoppers meet; Sparkbox, a retail planning and optimisation platform powered by machine learning; and Nanoloom, engineer advanced materials – from graphene or the biomimicry of butterflies – offering strength, elasticity and biodegradability. The launch event was held at The Ballroom, The Trampery, featuring an inspiring discussion with Lauren Bartley, Chief Sustainability Officer at GANNI, and Jen Keane, CEO of Modern Synthesis, a winner of the last Manufacturing Futures prize. The pair discussed the collaboration between the two brands to launch the leather-alternative Bou Bag and how to best embed innovative and sustainable solutions into a fashion business model. Fashion District was founded in 2018 with a goal to bring together fashion, technology, business and education in east London to meet, compete, collaborate and innovate. Fashion District works with a number of different partners to facilitate support programmes helping to develop a strong, sustainable network within the UK fashion industry. Spearheaded by Director Helen Lax, Fashion District is supported by London College of Fashion, UAL, and the Mayor of London. This year’s Manufacturing Futures prize will include: Cash prize of £15k for the winner and £5k each for two runners-up Desk membership for a year at The Trampery workspace in Fish Island Village Membership to UKFT providing access to their annual programme of events and webinars, networking opportunities via their extensive pool of members and supporters, and the latest market insights Business membership for a year to Common Objective, accessing 30,000+ global connections, premium intelligence and training courses in sustainable fashion and manufacturing. Business development consultancy hours from PANGAIA and the new Fashion District / The Trampery accelerator programme, Evo Fashion FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FASHION DISTRICT Read more about UKFT’s work around innovation and manufacturing on behalf of the UK fashion and textile industry by clicking the links, and find out about UKFT membership here.