Marking a milestone in circular fashion: The Circular Changemakers showcase at Lakmé Fashion Week W/F’19

by Shubhi Srivastava

27-August-2019  |  7 mins read

The Circular Changemakers Factory

The six start-ups shortlisted for the Circular Changemakers platform presented their business approach that support circular economy for the benefit of the apparel industry at The Studio on 22 August – The Sustainable Fashion Day of Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2019.

Created by Intellecap’s Circular Apparel Innovation Factory (CAIF) in partnership with Circular Design Challenge that was launched by Lakmé Fashion Week, Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL) polyester brand R Elan’s Fashion For Earth initiative and UN Environment, Circular Changemakers is India’s first investment readiness programme for start-ups that promote circular fashion.

The selected start-ups competed by presenting scalable, post-prototype and revenue-generating solutions that were less harmful to the environment and provided renewable inputs to the textile and apparel industry at Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2019.

Who were the finalists!

The finalists comprised Stylumia Intelligence Technology Pvt. Ltd. by Ganesh Subramanian, Reverse Resources by Ann Runnel, JSP ENviro Pvt. Ltd. by V.T. Fidal Kumar,Saathi Eco Innovations by Tarun Bothra, Canva Fibre Labs by Shikha Shah and Greensole by Shriyans Bhandari. These circular economy start-ups were chosen by IMG Reliance and CAIF through a scoring criteria, due diligence, further supported by the feedback of strategic investors that constituted the jury.

Once selected, the start-ups underwent a CAIF-hosted bootcamp revolving around 3 modules namely ‘Capital Raising’, ‘Business & Financial Modelling’ and ‘Investor Pitch Preparation’, while garnering a mentorship in the sustainable and circular fashion space.

The platform gave them an opportunity to pitch their work to potential strategic investors to get benefited by strategic investments and partnerships to further realise their cause.

The session was opened by a short Q&A with Stefanie Bauer, Director, Circular Apparel Innovation Factory as the moderator. She touched base with Vineet Rai Founder & Chairman, Aavishkaar Group and Renata Lok Dessallien, Resident Coordinator for the UN in India discussing their view on the core areas of environment, start-ups, financing as well as the fashion industry and how such expert discussions can benefit all the stakeholders of the processes.

The Circular Changemakers Factory

The key elements of the talk were the presentations by the start-ups, which were as follows:

Stylumia Intelligence Technology Pvt. Ltd: Ganesh Subramanian, Founder and CEO, of the Bengaluru-based start-up talked about their venture, a first of its kind ecosystem of SaaS (Software as a Service) products for the fashion and apparel industry. Their ‘Demand-Sensing’ feature utilises big data at internet wavelength to decode the consumer demand. This data-driven intelligent software helps fashion business narrow down the use of resources and tailor it perfectly to the needs of the consumer, minimising extra stock wastage.

JSP Enviro Pvt Ltd: Fidal Kumar, Co-founder, explained how the Chennai-based enterprise utilises systematic and revolutionary process-based innovation to achieve the target of water conservation/treatment and energy efficiency at a large scale. This innovation is a water effluent treatment technology that is equipped with the capability of generating electricity from textile effluents while also enabling water treatment for reuse.

Ahmedabad-based Saathi Eco Innvoations was elaborated by its Co-founder, Kristin Kagetsu, who shared that the enterprise has cleverly developed a single platform technology to process natural fibre into a highly absorbent pulp that has multiple end uses. In fact, their first prototype product is revolutionary in its arena, as it is 100 per cent biodegradable and compostable sanitary pad constituted of banana fibre, one of the most absorbent natural fibres, thus solving the major issue of landfills being filled by non-biodegradable pads.

Canve Fibre Labs, Ahmedabad, presented by Shikha Shah and Shreyans Kokra, Co-founders, is an alternative fibre and material science company. Their technology enables them to convert agriculture waste into textile fibres that are actually viable for use having better performance characteristics than other textiles.

Greensole Footwear was shed light upon by its CEO and Co-founder, Shriyans Bhandari, who described it as an innovative social venture that has developed a process to recycle discarded shoes to comfortable footwear. They are also promoting social values as a chunk of their recycled shoes goes for the aid of children in need who cannot afford good quality footwear.

The jury encompassed strategic investors who are experts from across fields – Priyanka Khanna, Lead – International Expansion, Fashion for Good; Kartik Desai, Executive Director, Asha Impact; Divya Gupta, Aavishkaar Venture Management Services; Erik Karlsson, Head of H&M Co:Lab; Manasi Kirloskar – UN in India Young Business Champion for SDGs; Radhika Nath – Executive Director, Mahindra Retail;and Renata Lok Dessallien, Resident Coordinator of the UN in India.

Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President and Head of Fashion at IMG Reliance said, “This is the first edition of the Circular Changemakers programme which aims to evolve mindsets, create conversations and support circular fashion enterprises through strategic collaborations and investments. We have seen innovative prototypes ranging from alternative fibres and building efficiency in waste management to using big data to decode consumer demand of fashion. We’re extremely excited for our Changemakers to pitch their models which will help them build their prototypes into sustainable solutions.”

Sharing the same enthusiasm and positivity about the new initiative, Stefanie Bauer-Vemuri, Director Circular Apparel Innovation Factory asserted, “The enterprises showcased at Lakmé Fashion Week highlight the variety of innovations that are emerging in India in the sustainable fashion space – from fibres to end-of-use and recycling solutions, all with the potential to make a difference in India’s textile and apparel industry. We are excited to see such a positive response in the industry to join this first ever investor showcase, and are committed to organise more such events in the future that bring the ecosystem together on one platform.”

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