Fashion for Good hosted their first Innovation Day in South Asia, orchestrated in partnership with Colombo Innovation Tower (CIT), an initiative of the Design Corp Group, on November 28th. The event leads up to the launch of Fashion for Good’s dedicated regional innovation programme which officially starts in January 2020.  A jury of key industry leaders from the region, brought together by CIT, were present to hear a carefully curated selection of ten innovators, invited to pitch their sustainable solutions for the chance to join the Fashion for Good Innovation programme. Managing Director of the Design Corp Group, Lin Gong-Deutschmann, officially opened the event which also marked the launch of Colombo Innovation Tower, a collaboration space to drive innovation in design and technology in Sri Lanka.

(Design Corp Group), Sachindi De Silva (Design Corp Group), Prajeeth Balasubramanium (BOV Capital), Tjeerd Veenhoven. Credit: AOD/Colombo Innovation Tower

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 Colombo Innovation Tower, is key to bringing together the industry and other ecosystem players. With this collaborative partnership, Fashion for Good is seeking to provide a platform for innovations in Sri Lanka that allows them to scale through our Innovation Programme.

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 events of the day, were orchestrated by Colombo Innovation Tower (CIT), a  central hub for innovation in the region by Design Corp Group, that brings together the entire regional fashion ecosystem, including key stakeholders, investors, brands and manufacturers, as well as a select press. Lin Gong-Deutschmann, CEO of Design Corp Group, officiated the opening of the Innovation Day, with well over one hundren attendants including manufacturers Brandix, Hela, Hirdaramani, MAS, Shore to Shore, Teejay and many more.. 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, Prajeeth Balasubramanium, Founder of BOV Capital and Rogier van Mazijk, Investment Manager at Fashion for Good.

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 new project, producing yarn from locally sourced Palmyrah fibers, which he is developing in partnership with Colombo Innovation Tower. 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.

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