Blog: Leonie BarrieIn good company

Leonie Barrie | 14 February 2014

What do Nike and Levi Strauss have in common with the likes of Google, Netflix, General Electrics and other technology and science heavyweights? Well, they've all made it onto the list of the World's 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company magazine in its "annual guide to the businesses that matter most."

Nike, ranked number 7, is hailed "for setting a sustainable example" with products like its 'Making' app, which helps companies measure the environmental impact of using different materials; and its Launch programme, created with NASA and the State Department to accelerate companies developing innovative materials.

Levi Strauss & Co, meanwhile, comes 30th on the list and is singled out for its "reducing, reusing, and recycling" efforts. Its Waste<Less blue jeans are each made with a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content, and its Water<Less products use significantly less water to produce. In the autumn, Levi's Dockers brand debuted Wellthread, designed to recycle old material into new clothing and make sustainable apparel cheaper to produce.

But that's not all.

The publication has also rated what it considers to be the companies moving the fashion industry forward in another list covering the World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Style.

Leaders here are led by the Council Of Fashion Designers Of America (CFDA) for giving the fashion industry a conscience with initiatives to help young designers; fashion publication Refinery29; and Editd, the London-based software company that uses big data to analyse the whims of fashion trends.

Also making the list are Farfetch, the retail portal that brings together high-end boutiques from around the globe; and fast-fashion retailer H&M for branching out with new lines and initiatives including upcycled denim.

And it's good news for Gap, which is (finally) getting back in the fashion game with its hiring of Rebekka Bay, the former creative director at Cos, who's influence is starting to show through in products hitting the stores this spring.

Other firms to watch are online wholesale marketplace Joor, and maternity clothing brand Hatch Collection, which "disrupts the dowdy maternity fashion space" with designs women will want to wear.

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