by Priya Jadhav
COLOMBO/SRI LANKA – Fashion for Good hosted their first Innovation Day in South Asia, leading up to the launch of Fashion for Good’s dedicated regional innovation programme which officially starts in January 2020. A carefully curated selection of ten innovators were invited to pitch their sustainable solutions to a jury of key industry leaders from the region, for the chance to join the Fashion for Good Innovation programme. During the Innovation Day the official partnership between Fashion for Good and Welspun was announced. Welspun, the global leader in home textile manufacturing, joins as an affiliate innovation partner to provide support in their local activities.
Left to right: Priyanka Khanna (Fashion for Good), Rogier van Mazijk (Fashion for Good), Madu Rathnayake (Virtusa), Lin Gong-Deutschmann
(Design Corp Group), Sachindi De Silva (Design Corp Group), Prajeeth Balasubramanium (BOV Capital), Tjeerd Veenhoven. Credit: AOD/Colombo
Fashion for Good is the global initiative bringing together the entire apparel industry to innovate and collaborate for Good Fashion. South Asia is a global leader in manufacturing and one of the largest consumer markets for fashion. Partnerships with local brands and manufacturers, such as the global home textile leaders Welspun allows for swifter scaling of sustainable innovations and implementation of pilot programmes that lead to adoption into the fashion value chain.
CEO and Joint Managing Director of Welspun India, Dipali Goenka says of the partnership “Responsible growth driven by sustainability is not just a business imperative but a moral responsibility. Welspun as the industry leader is redefining how the textile business can be done in a far more sustainable and transparent manner. Fashion for Good provides access to latest sustainable innovation and collaborate with wider industry players”
As Fashion for Good continues to expand their activities in the region, the Innovation Day represents the first official event leading up to launch of the dedicated regional innovation programme. The Innovation day brings together the entire regional fashion ecosystem, including key stakeholders, investors, brands and manufacturers, as well as a select press. Dutch Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Tanja Gonggrijp, addressed the audience in her opening keynote, speaking on the innovation opportunities and potential in Sri Lanka, and was followed by the innovator pitches.
With innovations ranging from blockchain traceability solutions to using machine learning to reduce waste in the production and fitting stage of the supply chain, to innovations in materials, dyeing and energy usage, the ten innovators pitched their solutions to jury members Madu Rathnayake, CIO of Virtusa, and Prajeeth Balasubramanium, Founder of BOV Capital.
The selection of innovators that are invited to join the Fashion for Good Innovation Programme will be announced at a later date. The selected innovators will gain priority access to a network of global partners such as founding partner C&A Foundation, and corporate partners adidas, C&A, CHANEL, BESTSELLER, Galeries Lafayette Group, Kering, Otto Group, PVH Corp., Stella McCartney, Target and Zalando and affiliate partners Arvind, Norrøna and Welspun, as well as to funding, mentoring and bespoke coaching, providing innovators with the tools needed to grow.
H&M Change award winner and sustainable designer, Tjeerd Veenhoven, also took to the stage, showcasing his innovations in raw material design. Three of Fashion for Good’s Accelerator Alumni: Natural Fibre Welding, Reverse Resources and Trustrace, were also present during the Innovation Day, pitching their sustainable solutions in circular material innovation, fabric and garment traceability and supply chain traceability using blockchain respectively.
With a rich heritage in textile manufacturing and production, South Asia presents significant opportunities to create value and impact, both socially and environmentally. Fashion for Good is seeking to spark and scale promising innovations from this region, catalysing collaborative pilots such as the recently concluded Organic Cotton Traceability Pilot, a collaborative initiative between Fashion for Good, C&A Foundation and the Organic Cotton Accelerator with support from C&A, Kering, PVH Corp. and Zalando with Bext360, an innovator from the Fashion for Good Scaling Programme.
About Welspun : Welspun is the world leader in Home textiles and the partner-of- choice of top global retailers. Welspun is part of the $2.7 billion Welspun group which is one of India’s fastest growing global conglomerates. Welspun has the highest market penetration in the USA, where it is the supplier/producer of every 5th towel and 9th sheet that is sold in the country. Welspun’s differentiated product offering is based on deep consumer understanding and strong legacy of Innovation with unique patents such as Hygrocotton® and Wel-trak™. Welspun’s innovation DNA is also integral to its processes through which it provides value-added services to the customers. Welspun also owns leading brands like Christy and Spaces. Welspun is on track to meet the changing consumer preferences, driven by its differentiation strategy based on Branding, Innovation and Sustainability.
About Fashion for Good : Fashion for Good is the global initiative that is here to make all fashion good. It’s a global platform for innovation, made possible through collaboration and community. With an open invitation to the entire apparel industry, Fashion for Good convenes brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, nonprofit organisations, innovators and funders united in their shared ambition.
At the core of Fashion for Good is our innovation platform. Based in our Amsterdam headquarters and recently expanding the programme to South Asia, our global Fashion for Good Accelerator Programme gives promising start-up innovators the expertise and access to funding they need in order to grow. Our Scaling Programme supports innovations that have passed the proof-of-concept phase, initiating pilot projects with partner organisations and guided by our dedicated team that offers bespoke support and access to expertise, customers and capital. Our Good Fashion Fund catalyses access to finance to shift at scale to more sustainable production methods.
Fashion for Good also acts as a convener for change, with the world’s first interactive museum dedicated to sustainable fashion innovation. In our headquarters, Fashion for Good houses a Circular Apparel Community co-working space, creates open-source resources like its Good Fashion Guide that provides practical advice to implement cradle-to-cradle™ certified apparel as well as white papers and reports investigating industry practices and developments.
Fashion for Good’s programmes are supported by founding partner C&A Foundation, co-founder
William McDonough and corporate partners adidas, C&A, CHANEL, BESTSELLER, Galeries Lafayette Group, Kering, Otto Group, PVH Corp., Stella McCartney, Target and Zalando and affiliate partners Arvind, Norrøna and Welspun.