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Fibe wins Manufacturing Futures Innovation Challenge

Fashion District announced the winner and runner-ups of Manufacturing Futures 2024 at an Awards Evening hosted in The Conduit’s Ubuntu Lounge.

Fashion District has announced Fibe as the winner of its 2024 Manufacturing Futures Innovation Challenge. Fibe is a material science startup developing the world’s first textile fibres out of potato harvest waste. The company is developing the most scale, affordable and sustainable textile fibres with comparable performance to mainstream materials. They will receive £15,000 to advance their innovation and grow their business.

The winner was chosen by a judging panel of industry experts, including Ella Gould, Head of Sustainability and Innovation at Selfridges; Chelsea Franklin, Head of Advanced Concept Design at PANGAIA; Gillian Lipton, sustainability consultant most recently at Alexander McQueen; Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, UAL; and Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT.

Ella Gould, Head of Sustainability and Innovation at Selfridges and Manufacturing Futures judge, said:

“I feel so energised and hopeful after seeing such a broad spectrum of pitches solving problems across fashion’s entire value chain. The judges were unanimous in Fibe winning this year’s award. The energy in the room after their pitch was palpable and we so look forward to seeing them take their fiber innovation to the next level. Who knew potatoes were so exciting!”

Idan Gal-Shohet, co-founder of Fibe, commented:

“I’m really excited about winning the Manufacturing Futures prize. I’ve known many of the start-ups in this programme for a long time and have so much respect for them, which is why winning this prize means so much to us. The funding will be used to expand our business, so we are able to harvest a variety of different crops and create better conditions for farmers around the world. Our mission in the end is to create materials that use far fewer environmental resources than what’s currently available. Thank you so much to the judges and organisers for giving us this great opportunity to grow Fibe.” 

The runners-up, who will each receive £5,000 for their business, include Sequinova, who are making biodegradable sequins out of cellulose; and Fab Materials, who are converting hard to recycle fashion waste into valuable boards and composites, such as furniture. 

Helen Lax, Director of Fashion District commented:

“Congratulations to Fibe for winning this year’s Manufacturing Futures Innovation Challenge. I am thoroughly impressed by the talent and creativity of all the start-ups who took part in this year’s challenge and am hopeful for the future of the industry. There’s plenty we can do to improve and start-ups like these take us one step closer to achieving tangible change.” 

The following brands were also part of the 2024 iteration of Manufacturing Futures: Innovation Challenge: 

  • Arda Biomaterials – turning spent grain from the beer brewing and whisky distilling industries into a novel, leather-like material 
  • Fiiba – scaling sustainable materials for the fashion industry made from 100% agricultural waste 
  • Oxford Biopigments – plant-based dyes that are naturally lightfast and perform like synthetic dyes 
  • PACT – creating performance and aesthetic ready textiles made from collagen sourced from industrial by-products 
  • The Seam – the wardrobe care & repair service powered by intelligent tech, that pairs specialist makers with people and brands to keep fashion out of landfill 
  • TRUSS – simplifying the resale process through instant access to actionable data 
  • Zori Tex – using the latest technology to optimise the sorting and availability of complex non-reusable textiles

We would like to thank The Conduit for hosting the Manufacturing Futures Innovation Challenge awards ceremony, and everyone that joined us to celebrate.

All images: Christian Sinibaldi

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