Article by Centre for Sustainable Fashion | Monica Buchan-Ng | 11.16.2021

Fashion Values Challenge 2021 Shortlisted Projects

Earlier this year, we held the first Fashion Values Challenge – a global call-out for transformational ideas, looking for innovations in products, services and systems. We invited fashion and sustainability changemakers to respond to the question:  

“How can Fashion value Nature?”

The brief called for applicants to demonstrate that their idea will help to shift the fashion industry towards a more sustainable future: one that restores Nature rather than extracts from it. Reacting to biodiversity loss and the climate crisis, we asked applicants to consider how fashion can become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. We were looking for compassionate, hopeful, connective, pivotal, empathetic and holistic ideas.  

This year’s Challenge was an open category brief: concepts and projects applied to the fields of fashion design, media and/or technology. Applicants were invited to propose an idea that focuses on one discipline, or includes multiple disciplines. In order to be shortlisted, they needed to develop submissions that demonstrated relevance, feasibility, originality, and sustainability impact and thinking.  

The response was overwhelming. We received over one hundred applications from all over the world – from Senegal to Serbia, Iceland to Indonesia. The submissions were well-rounded, with close to an even number of products, services or systems, including digital platforms, new materials and processes, recycling and upcycling concepts. Projects showed real creativity in response to the brief, with innovations such as ways to build emotional connections to clothing, alternative economic systems, and soundscapes to encourage more ecologically conscious behaviour. Ideas reflected a holistic definition of sustainability – not only focusing on environment, but also considering cultural, social and economic perspectives. 

Due to the quality and volume of applications, shortlisting was an incredibly difficult process for the entire judging panel. But there were nine clear stand-outs with who demonstrated transformative, original and imaginative approaches, and a clear idea for how to restore and regenerate nature through fashion. 

Our nine finalists are: 

  • ECCE ‘Second Nature’ by Erik Hesselman 

A peer-to-peer fashion media platform giving users a new way to wear: digital clothing as thrilling as the physical experience. The mobile platform uses augmented reality photo filters to share styles and decentralise fashion communication.  

  • Future Wardrobe by Future Wardrobe Collective 

An algae-based collection of materials derived from kelp, investigating their potential to be functional and net positive for communities and the environment.  

  • It’s all Folk by Namrata Tiwari 

A ‘fibre to closet’ local economy bringing together yak herders, weavers, artisans and local communities to revive regenerative farming practices and provide an alternative to unsustainable cashmere production.  

  • Kinabuhi: New Life through Modern Weaves by Jessica Ouano 

An upcycling fashion business that reworks damages or unwanted second-hand garments with regenerative handwoven textiles, working in partnership with local communities in the Philippines.  

  • pH (poetic Hues) by Marion Jaouen 

A retail concept that brings together a materials laboratory and a fashion store. Customers can co-create a personalized bacterial dye to customize vintage and second-hand clothing, creating an emotional connection to their purchase.  

  • Seed: The Sustainable Fashion Guide by Melenie Hecker & Lilian Weiermann 

An online guide offering education-for-action steps to create more sustainable shopping behavior and garment care, building awareness about the fashion industry’s social and environmental impacts and how citizens can make an impact.  

  • TAG IT: An App to Cultivate Emotional Bonds to Your Clothes by Yifei Xu 

An app that enables the users to tag their clothes, attach personal stories, and to swap and resell items. TAG IT proposes a fashion ecosystem between brands and wearers, where stories last and journeys are traced.  

  •  VYN Repairable Sneakers by Stefan Mathys 

A circular footwear concept offering sneakers designed for easier repair and disassembly with a replaceable clip-out heel, and care products.  

  • ZYOSHTM by Pepe Costa 

A service to reduce microfibre pollution with a colour-changing label that reveals a QR code when a garment reaches its optimal recycling point. By scanning the QR code, end users can access information about where and how to properly recycle their garments.  

Congratulations to all our finalists and we can’t wait to announce the winners in December. Make sure you don’t miss it – follow us via social media on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn