British luxury fashion brand Stella McCartney and premium denim brand Outland Denim are among the ten fashion businesses that have been named as sustainable innovators to watch in the fashion industry by Common Objective (CO), an online business network that connects brands with ethical suppliers, buyers and experts.

The companies were recognised by CO in its new first-of-its-kind awards campaign.

"The CO Leadership Awards are championing the fashion businesses that are pushing the boundaries of creativity, combining great products and services with business practices that change lives and solve environmental challenges," it says. "The awards are recognising the trailblazers across the full spectrum of fashion business: brands, suppliers, communities and organisations."

Also in the top ten were Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA), which works to enable market access for African production, and the Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills, which CO described as the world's first vertically integrated Fairtrade organic cotton supplier, from yarn to finished product. 

The final CO ten (CO10) first had to meet a set of leadership criteria based on six categories spanning business and sustainability - mission, business model, products/services, impact, and roadmap - before then being presented to a panel of industry experts. The panel included Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council; Christine Goulay, sustainable sourcing specialist at Kering; Christopher Stopes of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS); and Nikhil Hirdaramani, director of Hirdaramani Industries.

In addition to the CO10, 140 other businesses, the 2019 CO Leaders, were also selected by CO's in-house team and recognised for the role they are playing in driving forward a more sustainable fashion industry.

"We're recognising the businesses that are pioneering best practice in the fashion industry, from one end of the supply chain to the other, from established players to new generation innovators," says Tamsin Lejeune, CEO of CO. "Our goal is to reward the businesses that are taking a leadership role - and encourage others to follow suit. We've been delighted by the quality and range of applicants to these inaugural CO awards"

The final 10 businesses that were awarded a CO10 award are:

Raeburn - A British luxury upcycling brand synonymous with design-led upcycling of unconventional materials. Ethos of Remake, Reduce, Recycle.

Osklen - A Brazillian luxury brand, experimental and innovative in it's approach, with a vision to make Brazil a sustainable development innovation hub.

Stella McCartney - A British luxury brand, data-driven in their sustainability and innovation.  Leader of the global sustainable fashion movement.

Bottletop - Accessories brand founded through a design collaboration with Mulberry. Supports artisan makers in Brazil, and educates young people through their foundation.

Indigenous - An established US lifestyle brand, that invests in 1,000+ Peruvian artisan workers by providing microfinance.

Outland Denim - An Australian denim brand championed by the likes of Meghan Markle. Made from 100% organic cotton, their production offers employment and training to vulnerable women.

Mayamiko - Made in Malawi urban youth brand, Mayamiko takes 'made in Africa' to the masses. Provides training to local garment workers,

Sonica Sarna Design - High-end artisan producer, including clients such as Mara Hoffman, VFCorp and Whistles.

Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA) - A network of production facilities throughout Africa. Developing communities and enabling market access for African production.

The Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills - The world's first vertically integrated Fairtrade organic cotton supplier - from yarn to finished product. Leader of sustainable cotton production and manufacturing.

"The CO platform was created to take sustainability in the fashion industry to scale. We are seeing more and more businesses and business leaders taking sustainability seriously, and this has never been more important. The CO awards are putting the spotlight on the visionaries that will drive change - and inspire a new generation of fashion professionals" adds Harold Tillman, chairman of CO.