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January 24, 2020

EU competition seeks sustainable fashion ideas

The European Commission is on the look-out for early-stage projects trying to change the way fashion is produced, brought, used and recycled – with up to EUR50,000 (US$51,100) available for the three winning ideas.

By Beth Wright

The European Commission is on the look-out for early-stage projects trying to change the way fashion is produced, brought, used and recycled – with up to EUR50,000 (US$51,100) available for the three winning ideas.

Under the theme ‘Reimagine Fashion: Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion’, this year’s European Social Innovation Competition is looking for initiatives that aim to reduce the overall environmental footprint of fashion, improve its societal impact, and help change behaviours in a sustainable way by helping to develop new products, services, processes and innovative business models. Solutions should also be scalable at the local, national or European levels.

The approach comes as EU citizens on average buy more than 12kg of clothing yearly, the production of which contributes 195m tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere and uses 46bn cubic meters of water. Clothing accounts for between 2% and 10% of the environmental impact of overall EU consumption, the Commission says.

At the same time, more than 30% of clothes in Europeans’ wardrobes have not been used for at least a year. Once discarded, over half the garments are not recycled, but end up in mixed household waste and are subsequently sent to incinerators or landfill.

The competition is open to entrants from across the EU member states and Horizon 2020 associated countries, including social innovators, entrepreneurs, students, designers, businesses and other doers, makers and change creators.

The application deadline is 4 March and a jury will select three winning ideas in November, each of which will receive an award of EUR50,000.

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