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Fashion for Good and Plug & Play: 59 sustainable startups to know

By Simone Preuss


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The fashion industry is not known for its social and environmental compatibility. On the contrary: The fashion industry is the second biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions - more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, as the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion reported recently. High time to change that and start where fashion comes from: with the cultivation of raw materials, dyeing and washing processes and innovations that save resources. Since spring 2017, Fashion for Good, together with startup accelerator Plug and Play and coporate partners, has been promoting startups from all over the world that are working towards this goal. FashionUnited has put together all 59 extraordinary companies at a glance.

The first group of 12 startups was presented in April 2017: Agraloop, Amadou, Dragon, Dropel, ICA Bremen, MySource, MycoTex, Pili-bio, RePack, Sundar, Tersus and Tipa. They were chosen from a list of more than 250 applicants for their unique and comprehensive approach to the textile supply chain. The startups' innovations range from transforming waste from fibrous food-crop production for textile use, using the skin from mushrooms as an alternative to leather and a new type of packing that aims at reducing the carbon footprint of e-commerce packaging by 80 percent.

Sustainable startups focus on resources, supply chain and production

In July 2017, Fashion for Good announced the second group of startups: Ten companies that worked with industry partners to improve the garment sector, focussing on changing the approach to water and energy use, waste, chemical use and labour practices. Carcel, Circular Systems, Colorifix, Ecofoot, Eon ID, LiteHide by LeatherTeq, Nature Coatings, Norman Hangers, Spindye and A Transparent Company were chosen among more than 200 applicants.

The third group, announced in March 2018, consisted of 15 startups that developed - among other innovations - biodegradable glitter, alternative fabrics made from seaweed, apples and orange fibres, biodegradeble bio polyester and bio-based alternative packaging materials made from sustainably sourced wood fibres. They were Algiknit, BioGlitz, Circular.Fashion, Flocus, Frumat, Good on You, Mango Materials, Nano Textile, Orange Fiber, Paptic, Planet Care, Provenance Biofabrics, Reverse Resources, Scalable Garment Technologies Inc. and Style Lend.

The fourth group of 12 startups, announced in September 2018, was not any less innovative: It consisted of & Wilder, AlgaLife, The Excess Materials Exchange, Gibbon, Green Whisper, Nowner, Reflaunt, reGain, Save Your Wardrobe, Stuffstr, TrusTrace and The Vienna Textile Lab. They developed, among other ideas, dyes and fibres from algae microorganisms, marketplaces that help reduce surplus, banana fibre products and a scalable digital platform for measuring, monitoring and communicating various activities in the supply chain.

The fifth group was announced only a week ago. Ten startups made it, focusing on innovative data management, new materials, plant-based dyes, a circular economy and other groundbreaking ideas. They are Checkerspot, Dimpora, FARFARM, FastFeedGrinded, IndiDye, Indigo Mills Designs, MonoChain, pondTextile, Pure Waste Textiles and VeChain.

All selected startups participate in a 12-week programme to identify, invest in and market sustainability innovations. In addition to Fashion for Good and Plug and Play, they are supported by co-founding member, the C&A Foundation, and a growing list of corporate partners, currently Adidas, Bestseller, C&A, Galeries Lafayette, Kering, Otto Group, PVH Corp., Stella McCartney, Target and Zalando.

Photo: Fashion for Good
Fashion For Good
Plug and Play