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The IET/Fashion District Manufacturing Futures Prize

This year we’ve partnered with the Fashion Innovation Agency at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London (UAL), to launch a special prize – Manufacturing Futures 2021– supporting technological innovations which are solving the manufacturing challenges facing the fashion industry today.

The aim of the challenge find small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who are developing tech solutions to current industry issues, such as developing propositions for new materials, manufacturing processes, waste management, supply chain and logistics, transparency and traceability, end-of-use and the circular economy.

The challenge provided the opportunity for SMEs to win cash prizes, business support, and the opportunity to pitch to some of the industry’s leading brands including Pangaia, H&M Co Labs, Make UK, IBM, FIA.

Biophilica has been announced as the winner of the Manufacturing Futures Prize for Treekind™; an entirely plant-based, compostable leather alternative for the fashion industry.

Highly Commended was awarded to Modern Synthesis, a bio-materials start-up making cellulose materials by growing microbes, and Nanoloom, a company that creates biodegradable fibre from a unique nanomaterial which is based on graphene. 

Find out more about all the shortlisted SMEs and winner

Treekind® by Biophilica is a plant-based leather alternative for the fashion industry. It is estimated to be carbon negative, recyclable as green waste, home compostable, non-toxic and completely free of plastic and petrochemicals. With Treekind™ we want to support the transition to local, sustainable manufacturing and consumption.

Clean Ocean Technology by Airjet Global is a textile business that creates new yarn by binding any recycled raw material with natural and bio artificial spun yarn. It reduces the polluting effect of textiles and protects the environment from fibers and chemicals in clothing, whilst providing greater durability and better circularity.

ClearChain is a software platform for easy, low-cost, high-value supply chain mapping, compliance auditing, and reporting. It enables companies to get answers to the big questions facing them about sustainability, Net-Zero, and ethical compliance. Its modern, simple user interface eliminates clutter and allows users to map supply chains and conduct compliance audits on one or more of these vendors.

2DTronics by G Square is a textile technology start-up dedicated to producing smart sustainable clothing for the home, for work, and for exercise. 2DTronics fabrics are made from composites of nanomaterials with recycled or natural fibres giving enhanced strength, durability and comfort. Garments are also to be embedded with smart sensing functions using graphene conductive inks.

Modern Synthesis is a London-based biomaterial start-up connecting the dots between biology, material science, and design to craft progressive biomaterials for the fashion industry. The company's ‘microbial weaving’ process employs microbes to grow a strong, lightweight cellulose-based composite material that is naturally biodegradable and offers unique potential for customization.

Nanofique Limited is working with bio-composites of nanostructured material to degrade the dyes in wastewater, removing the colour and associated harmful effects. They also separate, remove and upgrade the heavy metal ions and salt without producing sludge and recycle the water. Their product is catalytic and biodegradable. The bio element can be grown without the use of irrigation, fertilizer, or pesticides.

Nanoloom creates biodegradable fibre from a novel, unique nanomaterial called BioHastalex, which is based on graphene. BioHastalex is extremely strong, light, flexible and durable. It can be made to attract or repel water without additives, doesn’t shed and is scalable. This makes it suitable for numerous applications, and Nanoloom currently focuses on performance apparel. 

Pattern Project is a clothing micro-factory, developing machinery and software to enable independent fashion brands, high street retailers or tailoring companies to produce custom-fit clothing in-store and on-demand. The software generates a made-to-measure pattern from customer measurements and sends it to a desktop cutting machine. A ready-to-sew custom-fit garment is then created in as little as 10 minutes.

Petit Pli is a wearable technology company engineering clothes that grow. Trained aeronautical engineer, Ryan Mario Yasin founded Petit Pli in 2017, shortly after gifting clothes to his newborn nephew in Denmark. By the time the clothes arrived, they were already too small! Ryan drew inspiration from his background in deployable nano-satellite structures to pioneer a new approach to slow fashion.

Terra Neutra provides innovative services that measure the carbon footprint of a product and allow customers to offset the impact in the shopping cart. Their mission is to create a carbon positive world, empowering people to live more sustainably, raising awareness of climate impact, enabling reduction and offsetting any residual emissions.

Next Steps

Finalists will receive constructive feedback from high-level industry experts who will act as Critical Friends, in the areas of fashion manufacturing, business strategy, investment, IP, and sustainability.

Finalists will also attend a development workshop in June.

Final pitching to the judges will take place at an industry and investor supper in September 2021, where the winner will be chosen.  

Visit the Fashion District website for more information on their work.