What is the potential of small brands seeking to innovate in a landscape dominated by the values big corporations established over 50 years ago? The Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund, powered by the collaboration between eBay UK and British Fashion Council, was born as an initiative to help grow and empower emerging businesses that are making an arduous effort to provide the industry with sustainable fashion solutions.
A few weeks ago, the two industry giants announced a total of six fund winners, which are set to individually receive a £15,000 grant to accelerate their growth alongside one-to-one mentoring from industry leaders such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, networking opportunities, and financial support. According to the official statement release, the overall winner is yet to be announced, which will receive an additional £10,000 grant.
Among the top six was By Rotation, the world’s first community-powered platform for fashion lovers to rent and lend luxury items to each other, which counts with over 50,000 downloads in the UK. The popular renting app was followed by the Circular Textiles Foundation, a highly environmentally aware organization ensuring clothing is created to be recycled. The company links clothing design, takeback, and recycling technologies using QR technology and certification systems.
The Seam, a conscious on-demand tailoring service making clothing alterations and repairs accessible through tech to both consumers and fashion retailers, was also among the top six winners. Next on the list was Sages, a company striving to reduce the reliance on synthetic dyes, which account for 80 percent of carbon emissions, by replacing them with natural dyes made from food waste.
Pip and Henry, a label that has created a shoe that grows with a child’s foot, making it easy to disassemble into parts for recycling, alongside Circular Inc. Ltd., a provider of circular and sustainable solutions for sportswear and outdoor retailers, pinnacled the winners’ list.
Lucy Peacock, Head of Pre-loved at eBay UK, shared: “Circularity is the future of fashion, and over recent years start-ups and small businesses have been at the forefront of solutions to make it a reality.” She continued, “The winners of the Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund epitomize this, and we hope that the mentoring and grant will help scale these promising businesses in size and reach, and in turn, make sustainable fashion practices more accessible to more people.”
Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, added: “The Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund champions pioneers in this space, and we were incredibly impressed by the expertise, commitment, and leadership demonstrated by each of our winners. We’d like to congratulate all six winners on what they have achieved so far and look forward to supporting them as they build, scale and thrive.”
You can find out more about eBay’s commitment to empowering communities through meaningful commerce via the company’s dedicated impact pages. And, if you’re interested in more on the potential of circularity, here’s why Vestiaire Collective’s recent ban on fast fashion may not be all it seems.