Now in its 8th year, the European Social Innovation Competition acts as a beacon for social innovators in Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping society for the better. Each year the Competition addresses a different issue facing Europe. This year, the focus is: Reimagine Fashion: Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion. The Competition was launched digitally on 20 January 2020, while a special physical launch event took place on 12 February 2020 in Valencia, Spain. Social innovators from across all EU Member States and Horizon 2020 associated countries were invited to submit an application until the Competition deadline on Wednesday 4 March 2020.
The Semi-Finalists, from 14 different countries, were selected from a field of 766 applications, by a Judging Panel comprising industry leaders from both the social innovation and sustainable fashion worlds. The selected Semi-Finalists are all early stage social innovation projects that are working towards changing the ways we produce, buy, use and recycle fashion and encouraging a sustainable change in consumer behaviour.
Meet the Semi-Finalists:
- ALMA (Italy)
A material innovation start-up, focused on finding sustainable components to create vegan leather.
- BYBROWN’s Transposable Circular Raincoat (Netherlands)
A 100% recyclable, circular and durable raincoat that is to be distributed through a new consumption model.
- ChoozFit (Romania)
A proprietary outfit recommendation engine for digital fashion brands that helps consumers make more sustainable choices.
- Cultural Sustainability in Fashion (Romania)
Artisan-designer collaborations focused on reviving heritage European textile crafts.
- Dyeluxe (Germany)
A method to transform natural colour pigments, derived from food by-products, into textile dyes.
- Edith (Italy)
An app that offers personalised style tips and helps users to organise their wardrobes.
- Fairbrics (France)
A technology that converts the CO2 emitted during fabric manufacturing into new synthetic fabrics.
- Fluid Fashion Realities (Spain)
A system that allows users to match physical garments with digital projections of looks in real time.
- Hempcell (Germany)
A start-up that is promoting premium European Hemp Lyocell fibres as a viable and sustainable textile alternative.
- Kleiderly (Germany)
A start-up that turns recycled clothes into durable material used to make a range of products, from furniture to suitcases.
- Love Your Denim (Italy)
A means to collect unwanted jeans and then turn them into a yarn from which cotton sweaters and jackets are produced.
- MeuTeu Co-design Lab (Spain)
A sustainable fashion lab that uses co-design with consumers as an inclusive approach to create products that they really need.
- MycoTEX (Netherlands)
An innovation to make custom-made clothes using a sustainable fabric made from mycelium, a substance found in mushroom roots.
- MYFACTORI (United Kingdom)
An AI driven Operating System for on-demand distributed apparel manufacturing.
- Novel Dyes for Water-free Dyeing of Biofibers (Sweden)
A start-up that is seeking to reduce water waste during fabric dyeing processes, by developing a CO2-based biofibre dye.
- Post Carbon Fashion (United Kingdom)
Zero-waste and regenerative dyeing and coating services for textile applications through microbiological processes.
- Pulp Fashion (France)
Zero-was Fashion made from low carbon footprint manufacturing processes, using an easily recyclable material: paper.
- RE-NT (Germany)
A digital platform that enables brands to rent out fashion products, track performance and recycle unwanted items.
- Reinventing Copenhagen Fashion Week (Denmark)
An initiative to help transform the event into a platform for sustainable change in the fashion industry.
- resortecs (Belgium)
Dissolvable stitching thread and heat-dismountable rivets that help make the reuse and recycling textile products easier
- ROND: CO2 reduced soles from discarded fabric (Denmark)
Sweat and shock absorbent insoles made from fibers upcycled from discarded textiles.
- SENSTILE: The future is tactile (Spain)
A search engine that identifies, matches, and compares textiles digitally and at scale.
- Shuffle Swaps (Ireland)
A location based swap-shop platform built as a “dating site” for clothes, where users swipe, match and swap with others.
- Snake (Croatia)
A digital commerce platform which applies augmented reality and enables development of digital fashion by changing the way fashion is consumed.
- Style Your Stay (Portugal)
A rental marketplace for travellers, enabling them to rent clothing, shoes and accessories from local brands when they arrive at a new destination
- Swap Shop (Slovenia)
A swap shop where consumers can trade unwanted clothes. Un-swapped items are then transformed into new, durable garments.
- Vintage for a Cause (Portugal)
A collaborative upcycling platform that empowers women over the age of 50 in long term unemployment.
- Vividye: Reversible colouring for textiles (Sweden)
A colour and textile printing technique that allows for prints to be removed from fabric, so that new ones can be applied.
- WasteLess Fashion (Romania)
A zero-waste fashion system that enables designers to donate scrap fabric to fashion education institutions.
- WoolWays (Romania)
Monetising waste wool by connecting shepherds to the yarn market and controlling the value chain from raw fiber to product.
More information on the Semi-Finalists can be found here.
What happens next?
The Semi-Finalists receive a comprehensive online package of support from experienced social innovators to further the development of their ideas. This includes the Competition’s social innovation academy, a multi-day training event that connects Semi-Finalists to a wider community of European social innovators through a series of dedicated presentations and workshops. This year the academy will take place online, offering the same programme in a collaborative and digital format. Semi-Finalists will also be paired with a local coach for 1-to-1 mentoring and gain access to an online Pool of Experts for tailored advice on specific aspects of launching a social venture. This prepares them for the next stage of the competition, where they submit extensive Development Plans to the Judging Panel. The Judges will then have the responsibility to select 10 Finalists and eventually 3 Winners, each of whom will be awarded 50,000€.
Launched in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. Now in its 8th year, the Competition acts as a beacon for social innovators in Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping society for the better. The Competition is run by the European Commission with the support of a consortium of organisations. The consortium is led by Nesta Challenges and includes Kennisland, Ashoka Spain, the European Network of Living Labs, and Scholz & Friends.