Can we use fashion businesses to make a positive impact on society, the industry and the planet? The 5 LCF students selected for the final of the Enterprise Challenge 2020 would answer this question with a unanimous, "Yes, we definitely can!"
With projects focused on sustainability, community empowerment and innovation dominating this year, the annual Enterprise Challenge organised as part of Graduate Futures continues to demonstrate the creative talent and entrepreneurial mindset that predominates across LCF's student body.
During the event hosted at John Lewis & Partners in Oxford Street, the 5 finalists had the opportunity to pitch their projects to a panel of 4 high-profile industry experts: Professor Roni Brown, Head of London College of Fashion; Sim Scavazza, UAL Governor and Chair of Mentor UK, (also working as Retail Brand Consultant with some of the most successful retailers in the UK); Jason Beckley, LCF alumnus and specialist in Global Commerce who has worked for brands like Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren and Puma; and Debbie Vavangas, Global Leader for IBM's Garage practice.
Winners from previous years, including the founders of Lara Intimates and JOA, also attended the event and showed support to the new wave of LCF entrepreneurs. After hearing the students' presentations, the judges had the task of allocating the £8,000 prize money to each business idea and select the winner of the Enterprise Challenge 2020.
We interviewed the finalists to find out more about their business projects and how being part of this experience has helped them to grow as fashion entrepreneurs.
Survivalist — Transformable outdoor garments with a purpose.
The first prize of £4,000 went to... Final year BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development student Emi Tanimura, founder of Survivalist, a sportswear brand that creates ultra-functional, transformable outdoor garments, whilst addressing social issues within a vulnerable community.
The business idea... “Drawing inspiration from my own experiences, after becoming homeless 2 years ago, I wanted to create garments which give the wearer comfort in challenging environments. The Survivalist’s goal is to change the perception of functional stylish fashion as a vehicle to positively impact lives. Examples in the range include the Tent Trench, a trench coat that transforms into a tent, and the Bomber Bag which is an oversized bomber jacket that turns into a fully functioning backpack,” explains Emi.
Art-Z — The future of zero-waste pattern designs.
The second prize of £2,000 went to... BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development student Ashwini Deshpande, creator of Art-Z, a highly innovative software that uses Artificial Intelligence to reduce the amount of fabric wastage in the fashion industry, helping designers to work with zero-waste patterns.
The business idea... “The fabric waste at a pattern cutting and production stage is between 15-20%, which typically goes straight to landfill and incinerators. Art-Z helps reduce this waste by making small amendments to patterns using artificial intelligence in such a way that the aesthetic of the designer is not compromised,” says Ashwini.
Dear Planet — Luxury eco lingerie brand battling against climate change.
The third prize of £1,000 went to... BA (Hons) Fashion Contour student Lauren Finn, founder of Dear Planet, a luxury eco brand that creates empowering and compostable lingerie to look after women and the planet.
The business idea... “By opting for materials that mitigate climate change, Dear Planet will alter fashion’s current relationship with the planet. At its core, we area a brand which continually adopts the most sustainable, ethical and transparent practices. Ultimately, we’re striving to become the first carbon neutral lingerie business” explains Lauren.
A Beautiful Waste — Developing mindful beauty routines.
Highly commended with a prize of £500 went to... Fashion MBA students Aanchal Nagar, Naomi Grace Harris and Paridhi Jain, creators of A Beautiful Waste, a platform and a service that enables consumers to recycle their beauty waste more intelligently.
The business idea... “Through partnerships with beauty salons and hospitality hubs in the UK, our BYOB service (Bring Your Old Beauty) provides more effective recycling resources for consumers while adding value to our partners as a crucial CSR initiative. Digitally, we deliver solutions and information to support consumers in developing more mindful beauty routines,” explains the team.
CTRLZZZ — Ending the insomniac's struggles.
Highly commended with a prize of £500 went to... MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation student Fernanda Bernardi, founder of CRTLZZZ, a mobile app that helps those who have trouble at night to sleep quicker and better.
The business idea... “It’s a 3-in-1 solution designed to enhance the sleep experience, including visual mediation and routine planner, as well as sleep e-commerce with a selection of products designed to build the perfect sleep environment. We need to understand that sleeping is as vital as drinking water or eating, and I want to help those who struggle to fall asleep to get a good night rest."