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Rebecca Morter from Lone Design Club was crowned the winner of the Retail Futures 2020 last night at the Fashion Innovation and Awards Networking Event. Two runners-up prizes were also awarded to Irene-Marie Seelig & Matthew Pril from AnamXR, and Maria Makrova & Irina Khaykina from GFAIVE who each received a £5,000 cash prize. Benedicta Banga also recieved a special commendation for Blaqbase.

This year’s prizes also included a year’s desk membership for each business at The Trampery Fish Island Village, one of the Fashion District’s studio sites in east London. Opening next year it will be Europe’s largest campus dedicated to sustainable fashion and innovation.

Harita Shah, Director of Brand, Creative, Media, Comms & Events, Unibail Rodamco-Westfield, said: “There have been some truly innovative ideas and solutions put forward by the SMEs. 2020 has been a year of huge acceleration of trends which has fostered creativity and ingenuity – just what we need to explore and reshape the industry going forward. URW is proud to be working with Fashion District again this year on Retail Futures 2020 and investing in the future of retail.”

Lone Design Club also won vital technology and business support from IBM to develop their business plan and a 12-month membership with Stylus, the competition’s trends partner, who will provide the winner with essential industry consumer insight.

Remo Gettini – CTO, Depop said: “”The next generation of fashion creators and technology innovators have the power to unlock the future of fashion – that’s what Depop has championed from the start. As consumer needs evolve faster than ever, fashion’s innovation will be unleashed by agile and adaptive start-ups which can combine deep understanding and insight with forward, purpose-led thinking. We’re excited to support Fashion District’s Retail Futures 2020 and celebrate the future of fashion innovation.”

Hear the sounds of Leyton Green Studios by artist in residence Harriette Meynell

The Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme (AER) provides UAL graduates with the exceptional opportunity to explore concerns of the 21st century. One UAL student was selected to visit one of our partnering institutions; Waltham Forest.

Making for Change: Waltham Forest comprises a programme of community engagement, educational and design research activities grounded on the themes of makers, fellowships, and radicals, using fashion as catalyst for change in the borough, with long-term legacy.

In this report, Harriette Meynell at Central Saint Martins shares an soundscape and artist statement post residency:

Alterations Exhibition Audio Excerpt

Artist’s Statement

To conclude a six-week Arts in the Environment residency at Arbeit Studios I (re)constructed Leyton High Road – from the bus garage to the E10/E17 boundary with the Lea Bridge Road – within a site-specific sound installation that gathered together the voices of local shopkeepers.

Colour is associated with redevelopment and gentrification.  Paint has names such as Glass Houses and Royal Mews Gold.  A general painting-over occurs, with a pastel aesthetic.  The installation invited the viewer to listen, look and touch what is lost, perhaps, when this process happens.  The voices talk of community, the sad and funny times, and time spent in the immediate area where twenty pence fuses, henna trays and toy lions are on sale.

Scaffold is at the front line of the alterations.  When the tarpaulins come down a new and different façade comes into being.  The installation used scaffolding as the frame for the installation and brought the prospect of redevelopment into the Arbeit Studios themselves.  A physical embodiment of the changes happening to so many London high streets.

I would like to thank all the shopkeepers that contributed to the project and their generosity of time and openness to my questions.  I have laughed with, and cried at, some of the stories they shared. So thank-you Mohammad, Salma, May, Shabbir, Mohamed, Muhmmad, Vince, Gideon, Jordan, Danny and Serdar (for putting me in touch).  Thanks also to Waltham Forest Council and London College of Fashion for awarding me the residency and the opportunity to make work about the area.

@HarrietteMeynell

Meet the Retail Futures 2020 Shortlist

The Fashion District, in collaboration with the Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, UAL, is delighted to announce its shortlist for the second edition of Retail Future!

The shortlist was selected from 88 applications from around the world by our high-profile panel of industry experts, and 14 start-ups have been selected for this years cohort.

Remo Gettini – CTO, Depop said: “The next generation of fashion creators and technology innovators have the power to unlock the future of fashion – that’s what Depop has championed from the start. As consumer needs evolve faster than ever, fashion’s innovation will be unleashed by agile and adaptive start-ups which can combine deep understanding and insight with forward, purpose-led thinking. We’re excited to support Fashion District’s Retail Futures 2020 and celebrate the future of fashion innovation.”

Our cohort of 14 start-ups are offering up a range of solutions that include new AR & 3D digital customer experiences, marketplaces for sustainable fashion, black-owned businesses and rental menswear, as well as AI to optimise retail & supply chain efficiency.  Due to the number of high quality entries this year, the judges also created a new “Highly Commended” category for the competition in order to profile those start-ups that are of exceptional quality.

Harita Shah – Director of Brand, Creative, Media, Comms & Events, Unibail Rodamco-Westfield, said:  “There have been some truly innovative ideas and solutions put forward by the SMEs. 2020 has been a year of huge acceleration of trends which has fostered creativity and ingenuity – just what we need to explore and reshape the industry going forward. URW is proud to be working with Fashion District again this year on Retail Futures 2020 and investing in the future of retail.”

Congratulations to all! Read about our shortlisted and highly commended start-ups here:

Alpha AR

Alpha AR is a unique AI-based deep tech solution that boosts your sales and the imagination of your customers by converting 2D images into 3D models within minutes! Combining utility, interactivity and imagination, it is an effortless solution for getting your products ready to be showcased in augmented reality. Alpha AR is here to help you create the 3D content that you want to share with the world. Transform your competitive edge and shape the future of shopping by letting your products be experienced in AR.
https://alphaar.io/
https://www.instagram.com/alphaar.io/

AnamXR

AnamXR is the world’s first SaaS platform scaling virtual retail and event builds for the fashion industry to immerse communities into real-time, interactive brand and shopping experiences and live within the Planetary Boundaries.
www.anamxr.com
www.instagram.com/anam__xr/

Blaqbase

Blaqbase is a shopping app with beautiful, high quality products by black women. The platform helps users to discover, shop from black owned brands and show support for black owned brands by joining the growing community.
https://bit.ly/Blaqbase 
https://instagram.com/blaqbaseapp 

Cerebra Technologies

Cerebra forecasts what is going to be trending next and surfaces the reasons why certain products are going to be appealing to particular consumer segments. This helps retail teams plan which products to carry, which to phase out, and what are the best channels to reach each consumer segment. These insights have been used by leading fashion houses to increase conversions across marketing and sales strategies, both retail and wholesale. Cerebra’s AI technology can extract signals from any data source, from social media to product reviews, past sales, e-commerce user journeys, and competitor pricing. With automated workflows for a range of applications from forecast-based replenishment to dynamic discounting, Cerebra makes data-driven decision making easy for CMOs, CFOs and merchandisers – no coding is required.
https://www.cerebra.tech/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/cerebra-technologies/

Compare Ethics

Compare Ethics is the platform that builds trust and transparency through data-driven sustainable product verification. For fashion retail, we turn sustainability data into business value. For consumers, we empower them to know the impact they are making by choosing responsible brands. 
https://compareethics.com/
https://www.instagram.com/compareethics/


DOV

DOV is a leading visualisation studio using real time technology to bring digital events to life like never before. We want to drive the creativeness of humanity beyond reality and accelerate the planet towards a greener, sustainable future.
 www.dov.org.uk 
https://www.instagram.com/dov_uk/

FavourUp

FavourUp helps fashion, retail, and travel brands create localised user-generated content at scale, and provide consumer insights down to a postcode level.
FavourUp.com
https://www.instagram.com/favourup/

Little Black Door

A next-gen fashion technology platform pioneering ways to digitalise and share our wardrobes, by using AI and links with brands, stores and resale partner platforms,  powered by a female-focussed community who love to share fashion and what to do better with their wardrobes. LBD is the future of fashion interaction, removing existing fragmentation and traditional barriers of digitalising and sharing wardrobes, whilst empowering the primary and secondary fashion economies. LBD champions conscious consumption, encouraging use of wardrobe items and investment in quality slow fashion.
 littleblackdoor.io
https://www.instagram.com/lbd.app/
https://www.instagram.com/fashtechlife/

Lone Design Club

Lone Design Club is cutting through the noise of a saturated fast‐fashion market and shaking up the conventional shopping experience by challenging traditional retail offerings both in the UK and internationally. Presenting a new immersive shopping experience LDC is blurring the lines between consumers online and in‐store purchasing experiences. Lone Design Club seamlessly blends their physical stores with online experiences through live streams, an online marketplace, mobile self‐checkout and product information and QR codes connecting the physical to the digital. The beauty of LDC is that every concept store is unique; whether it is displaying a new emerging premium brand, discovering one-of-a-kind products, or gaining a glimpse into the fashion world with their in‐store experiences and events led by influential individuals within the fashion industry.
www.lonedesignclub.com
https://www.instagram.com/lonedesignclub/

Garmentry

Garmentry is one of the world’s first luxury menswear rental platforms, using excess stock of high-end brands and retailers. It gives consumers access to an unlimited wardrobe of clothing at a fraction of the retail price, while helping fashion businesses hit their sustainability targets.
https://www.garmentry.fashion/home
https://www.instagram.com/garmentryrental/  

Gfaive

Gfaive is the first Fashion Collection planning and sales forecast AI platform, that allows fashion brands to avoid overstock and out-of stock situations. With Gfaive customized platform Fashion brands can have a clear view of: fashion collection planning (which product attributes will be demanded the most), buying support (long-term demand forecast), sales KPI monitoring (know which item where and when will be sold). We provide AI-powered predictive analytics for preproduction planning phase. And brands can track key business performance in real time through our easy to use BI dashboards.
https://www.gfaive.com
https://www.instagram.com/gfaive/

Presize

Presize is focused on solving the online returns problem which is predominantly driven by the wrong fit: 50% of garments purchased online are returned, resulting in avoidable environmental damage, customer frustration and great value loss in a $500B online global market. We approach the issue by leveraging Computer Vision and Deep Learning algorithms to recommend the customer their perfect size – all we need is a 7-second video of the end user doing a 360 degree turn in front of their smartphone camera.
https://www.presize.ai/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/presizeai


RoundRack

The RoundRack tool enables brands to measure the recyclability of garments during their design process. It uses a unique algorithm to consider the sum and combination of materials. Accordingly, it offers alternatives for better results, helping brands to reach their sustainability goals.
https://www.linkedin.com/company/roundrack/?viewAsMember=true

Skinz

Skinz App is a product of LOOT, a digital design studio with a specific focus on the fashion industry. The app aims to pave a brand new way of customers to interact with products they love. By designing a seamless and fun mobile experience, its goal is to put a dent in the digital fashion revolution happening right now.
https://weareloot.com/ 
https://lofo.london/
https://www.instagram.com/lofo.london/

Highly Commended

AskLily

AskLily is a B2B company that develops an AI solution empowering brands and retailers with data on the style and preferences of online shoppers.  We do this by implementing our intelligent system, using Computer Vision technology we are able to analyze each and every item and to better match shoppers with what they are looking for.
https://asklily.co/ 
https://www.linkedin.com/company/asklily/

By Rotation

By Rotation is the UK’s leading fashion rental app aiming to democratise fashion and make it available to all. After travelling to her motherland Rajasthan, India, for her honeymoon and witnessing the first-hand effects of textile waste, Eshita felt compelled to change, and bring about change. Inspired by a love for fashion that doesn’t weigh on her conscience Eshita Kabra-Davies founded By Rotation as a side hustle in October 2019 whilst working in finance, and not long after, left her high-flying career to launch the platform which now has over 27,000 members. Eshita is especially focused on creating a conscious community of like-minded individuals combining to create a more inclusive industry. https://www.instagram.com/byrotationofficial/?hl=en

HURR

HURR is the smart way to rent your wardrobe, on-demand. The UK’s leading wardrobe rental platform allows members to share clothes and accessories, securely and in seconds. HURR has been named the “Airbnb of Fashion”, disrupting fashion ownership and paving the way towards a more sustainable future. Discover and rent curated edits of contemporary and luxury brands, accessing trend led pieces and coveted one offs.

https://www.instagram.com/hurr/
www.hurrcollective.com

IVA

IVA is a B2B platform connecting games with fashion & lifestyle brands. IVA enables the integration and sale of IRL designs as clothing assets for game characters and avatars. Existing design specs are taken from brands and provided to games developers in a standardised package of 3D assets that are quick and easy to integrate in different game development pipelines.
https://www.ivapparel.co/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/ivapparel

Own-Kind

Own-Kind is data-driven personal styling online. Sign up to our free App to browse all your favourite brands, as well as your own wardrobe items in one place, and access a range of personal styling tools and services.
http://bit.ly/Own-Kind_App
https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/own-kind/id1436776679

Personify XP

Personify XP automates digital experiences for anonymous digital shoppers driving an average increase of 10% in revenue. Personify XP partner with some of the world’s most exciting brands like Pentland Brands, Lovehoney and Vitabiotics. A Gartner Cool Vendor in Personalisation, Personify XP delivers ‘personification’ solving the ‘cold start problem for personalisation.
https://www.personifyxp.com https://www.linkedin.com/company/personify-xp

LET’S CONNECT: INTRODUCE YOURSELF OVER A VIRTUAL COFFEE WITH THE FASHION DISTRICT


We usually spent half our week out-and-about meeting new faces, learning about new businesses & start-ups, creating meaningful connections within our community, and hatching new exciting collaborations… and we don’t intend on stopping! Sign-up for a slot, and let’s chat! We’ll have our nespresso’s waiting.

KEY LINKS

Book a slot

SESSION STRUCTURE

In order to make the most out of the hour we propose the following structure:

Intros: A Whistle-stop tour (20 mins, 10 mins each)
Tell us: What do you need to grow? (10 mins)
Brainstorm: Contacts, Collabs & Imagineering (15mins)
Email Time: The last 15 minutes will be allocated to sending emails to make sure we connect you to who you need to before you go!

READING

To make the most of your time you read a few of our key documents ahead of time:
Fashion District Overview
Fashion District 2018 – 2019 Highlights
You can also check out our blog & other publications.

POPLAR WORKS NOW OPEN

A NEW SPACE FOR FASHION, CREATIVITY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP OPENS IN THE HEART OF LONDON’S FASHION DISTRICT

Poplar Works, one of the Fashion District workspaces supported by the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, was conceived around the simple idea that fashion could again become a major part of East London’s social and economic make-up.

The £6m transformation of 100 disused garages in the Aberfeldy and Teviot neighbourhood will bring a local space to nurture the existing talent and entrepreneurship, by providing affordable workspace and training opportunities, as well as creating a new community facility.

There will be 45 custom-designed, low-cost workshops and studios, a public café and events space to the area, and manufacturing facilities offering enterprise support and training programmes for the creative industries. The project is being delivered by housing association Poplar HARCA, in partnership with London College of Fashion, UAL and social enterprise The Trampery.

London, United Kingdom – Thursday 27 February 2020, Poplar Harca – Justine Simons Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries officially opens Poplar Works.

Ranging from 100 to 300 square feet, the applications for studio space at Poplar works is now open, will offer an ultra-affordable starting point for emerging fashion-related businesses.

Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE) wil provide five free studios for emerging fashion and fashion tech businesses at Poplar Works. The inaugural cohort selected to move in will be LCF alumna Bethany Williams, Rahemur Rahman, Loot Forever, Alex Mullins, Tolu Coker, A Perfect Fit and Not Very Well.


London Fashion Fund investments champion the future of fashion sustainability

We are delighted to announce that three sustainable fashion start-ups KAPDAA, CLOTHES-DOCTOR and REWRITTEN are the first recipients of investment from London Fashion Fund. Backed by the Mayor of London, the co-investment fund seeks to support early stage sustainable fashion & fashion tech start-ups that could help shape the future of the industry.

London Fashion Fund seeks to enhance pathways for fashion businesses to access much-needed complementary financing, offering £25,000 – £60,000 convertible loans to address a critical early-stage funding gap which is stunting fashion SMEs ability to scale at speed.

Acting as an intervention fund, it hopes to accelerate and add value to industry also supporting start-ups to find follow-on funding, achieve their business success measures and access relevant networks with the support of the Mayor of London, Fashion District, industry partners and co-investors.

The fund is now looking for next wave of start-ups to build a portfolio of diverse, forward-thinking and high-growth businesses that will shape the future of the fashion industry, with sustainability, social good and/or tech at its core. If you are a start-up looking to scale your business and preparing for next steps of seed or series A Investment, submit an expression of interest now!

Deadline to apply: March 3rd 2020 | For all start-up & co-investor queries contact: LFF@fashion-district.co.uk | For eligibility and info about LFF click here

LEARN ABOUT THE LONDON FASHION FUND’S FIRST INVESTMENTS

KAPDAA

At KAPDAA – The Offcut Company, every piece matters. Founder Nishant Parehk works with designers & textile weavers to turn offcuts, end of rolls, and other excess materials into beautiful unique, sustainable and branded products – giving waste fabric a new lease of life. Launched in 2016, KAPDAA has saved over 6400 meters of fabric from the landfill and  collaborated with over 250 brands already including Selfridges, Raeburn, Mary Katrantzou, Roland Mouret, Wolf & Badger, DAKs.

https://www.kapdaa.com/

CLOTHES DOCTOR

Clothes Doctor is helping to bring a new mindset of #CareWearRepair to consumers. It provides a range of award-winning environmentally-kind garment care products and repair & alteration services, to help consumers love their clothes for longer and reduce fashion waste. Launched in 2017, Lulu O’Connor has now built an impressive tech platform to offer their wide variety of services on a larger scale. Clothes Doctor also provides  tutorials and events designed to educate consumers on extending the life of their wardrobes.  The company’s customer drop-off point is in Farringdon London, with a repairs workshop in Cornwall.

https://clothes-doctor.com/

REWRITTEN

Rewritten was founded by Fran Cookson and Katie Arnott on the belief that no item of clothing should be worn only once – bridal or otherwise. A sustainable, inclusive sizing bridal and RTW brand founded in 2016, Rewritten encourage women to show off their unique sense of style #RewriteTheRules at their retail store and studio at The Trampery Fish Island Village, Hackney Wick. Known for their innovative styles, colours & prints, the business uses deadstock and sustainable fabrics and recycling; re-using and re-styling with environmental values permeating all parts of their business strategy.

https://wearerewritten.com/

The Trampery’s Sustainable Fashion Accelerator Launches!

The second cohort of companies and individuals to be accepted into The Trampery’s Sustainable Fashion Accelerator (SFA), were announced last night at the official launch of the innovative initiative.

Charles Armstrong, Founder and CEO of The Trampery said “After running such a successful inaugural cohort of the Sustainable Fashion Accelerator we are beyond excited to officially announce it. The designers on the second cohort each show incredible potential for high growth – from NEWGEN awardees to the Winner of H&M’s Global Change Award – these brands represent the next big thing in London today.”

The SFA is a bespoke business programme, designed to address the underlying issues facing nascent fashion companies in London, with a focus on integrating sustainability into their business models. Funded by the London Legacy Development Corporation, four editions of the six-month-long programme will run over the next three years, helping over thirty businesses.

The Trampery Fish Island Village, supported in part by the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, a scheme designed to help local people take an active role in the regeneration of their communities, will be London’s largest campus of fashion studios.

Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “As a global fashion capital, London has a huge opportunity to lead the way in sustainability. We must act now and with conviction to reduce our impact on the environment. The Sustainable Fashion Accelerator is a great example of how we can support the next generation of designers to drive genuine change, and I’m proud that we are supporting this important work.”

Here is the second cohort of designers who have been accepted onto the Sustainable Fashion Accelerator:

DANIEL w. FLETCHER is a London-based contemporary menswear brand, established in 2015 after Daniel Fletcher graduated from Central Saint Martins. Daniel’s eponymous label made its mark immediately when Opening Ceremony bought his graduate collection, and produced a capsule collection of eight of his designs for Spring/Summer ’16. Daniel creates deeply personal designs that explore his thoughts on current affairs and social issues. With a focus on casual luxury each collection combines timeless shapes and new fabrics and motifs. SS19 marked the brands first runway show and in 2018 Daniel was named as one of Drapers 30 Under 30. www.danielwfletcher.com

MWOVEN is the brainchild of fashion designer Martina Spetlova, whose highly identifiable use of hand-woven leathers in unexpected juxtapositions have become a trademark of her sustainable brand. Martina’s background in biology and chemistry influences her experimental approach that challenges materials, elements and expectations. Martina has a more holistic vision for her brand and its approach to sustainability, thinking about the entire life cycle of her products – from raw materials, making to repairs and recycling. Each design they create comes with a scannable chip detailing its materials, sourcing and processes to provide a fascinating digital life story for each piece. www.martinaspetlova.com

Patrick McDowell by Liverpool born designer Patrick McDowell has graced the cover of the September Issue of Elle UK and being featured in publications, such as Vogue Italia, Dazed and L’Official USA, to becoming a favourite of singers Rita Ora and M.I.A on and off stage, Patrick is making rapidly making a name for himself. Sustainability is at the core of Patrick’s practice, as he strives to reinvent luxury through a sustainable mindset. Crafted from reclaimed fabrics, organic yarns, and ethically produced materials, his pieces are designed and made in England. He is a strong advocate for reducing fashion’s global impact through designing with moral practice. www.patrickmcdowell.co.uk

Paynter Jackets Co, founded by Becky Okell and Huw Thomas, take iconic styles, such as the chore, trucker or field jacket, and remake them using the best materials they can find from around the world. Their jackets are made to order to and remake them using the best materials they can find. East jack is part of a limited edition run, hand-numbered in the order of sale. With only three editions a year, these made-to-last items are not easy to get hold of, and the batch sold out in under three minutes. Their jackets are made to order to minimise waste and each item has an illustrate label that tells the story of its batch. www.paynterjacket.com/

Petit Pli is a wearable technology company, which aims to clothe the future of humanity The London-based brand was founded in 2017, by trained aeronautical engineer Ryan Mario Yasin, who was strick by how quickly his nephew grew out of things. This experience served as a signal: childrenswear today fails to recognise the dynamic & rapidly changing bodies of Earth’s LittleHumans. Inspired by aerospace engineering, Petit Pli’s continuous size adjustment is a new way of approaching garment design, using technical materials that are ultra-lightweight, reinforced, rainproof and breathable – because children are extreme athletes. Today, Petit Pli’s team consists of an agile force of interdisciplinary design engineers, fashion designers, neuroscientists and sociologists. www.shop.petitpli.com

Wright LeChapelain draws on the different backgrounds of British-French duo Imogen Wright and Vincent Le Chapelain to explore the notion of the familiar within the European wardrobe. They aim to design unique and timeless pieces, which are contemporary yet rooted in the everyday. Sustainability and ethics are at the core of the brand and collections are developed and manufactured within a tenmile radius, reducing their carbon footprint and developing a personal relationship with the skilled tailors and seamstresses creating their garments. The integrity of their product is key: they source their suitings from British Heritage Mills and their shirtings from Italy, a transparent production chain from start to finish. http://www.wrightlechapelain.com

Sabry Marouf, founded by Daki Marouf and Ahmed Sabry is a creative partnership based between London and Ciaro, whose leather goods and jewellery pay tribute to the designers’ heritage: ancient Egypt meets modern expression for a new kind of storytelling. Their designs include Marna, a collection of artobject bags that are both beautiful and functional, and fine jewellery available as collections and bespoke commissions. Supporters include actor, model and philanthropist Elisa Sednaoui, Italian Vogue’s Sara Maino, and the British Fashion Council’s Anna Orsini. www.sabrymarouf.com

ROKER is a London-based contemporary footwear brand, founded in 2016 by Alim Latif. Each pair of ROKER boots and shoes is handmade in East London on traditional machines, by craftspeople with two decades of know-how. Every piece is rooted in the sculpture and the science of structure: heels are shapely, toes statuesque, leathers supple. Named after an area of Latif’s native Sunderland seaside hometown, the label is known for its uncompromising fluidity and graphic line, epitomised in ongoing collaborations with some of British fashion’s most fearless new guard, including Charles Jeffery, Richard Malone, Ashley Williams and Louise Gray.
www.rokeratelier.com

Sparkbox Wins Retail Futures!

We are delighted to announce the first prize for the Retail Futures Fashion District Innovation Challenge Prize 2019 was awarded to Lindsay Fisher, co-founder of Sparkbox, at the Fashion District Innovation Awards & Investment Supper held at The Stratford Hotel on November 5th, 2019.

Following an intensive pitch and interview process with over 60 entries, nine finalists attended the award ceremony last night along with the full judging panel; Myf Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, Carol Hilsum, Director of Innovation at Farfetch, Richard Bonner Head of Store Development, John Lewis & Partners, Carien Beyer, Innovation Programme Manager from True and finally, Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency, London College of Fashion, UAL.

Myf Ryan, CMO Europe and Group Director of Brand and Strategic Marketing for Unibail Rodamco-Westfield presented the award to Sparkbox; a service that reduces stock, improves profitability, and helps retailers avoid over-discounting by optimising their pricing at the product level.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is committed to innovating the future of retail and sponsored a £15,000 cash prize for the winner, alongside a 12-month membership with Stylus who provide essential consumer insight into the industry. After seeing such a high quality of entries across the board, Myf Ryan decided to award two runners-up prizes awarded to Joanna Chen from Gibbon and Taylor Semelsberger from Miro Solutions who were each given a £5,000 cash prize.

Myf Ryan of URW said: “It’s been inspiring to hear such creative business proposals from the entrants. We’re always looking to innovate the retail experience throughout our centres around the globe, as we continue to re-imagine the future of the retail environment to enhance the customer’s journey and experience. All of the business plans proposed were excellent and promise to innovate the industry at different points of the retail supply chain, and we are proud to be part of and nurture this future talent.”

Huge congratulations to all of the finalists who took part:

Helen Lax, Director, Fashion District said:The Fashion District Innovation Challenge Prize provides a springboard for tech entrepreneurs to trailblaze within the fashion industry. By creating a network of Fashion District innovators, we can test new concepts that have the power to disrupt the way retail does business and place London at the heart of global innovation.”

APPLY: Poplar Works

Applications are now open for the next development within the Fashion District: POPLAR WORKS!

Opening in East London in November, it is a proud collaboration between Poplar HARCA, London College of Fashion, UAL and The Trampery. The studios at Poplar Works have been developed for anyone working in the fashion economy – designers, makers, photographers, jewellers and more – and particularly seeking to nurture early stage businesses, and local businesses around Poplar & East London.


There are over forty studios across two sites, training spaces, a small production unit and a café. Studios range from 114 – 298 ft2 and start at £200 a month. Find out more and apply here. Deadline: 18th November!

Retail Futures: Critical Friends Development Session

As the next stage of the challenge, we invited our nine finalists to attend a critical friends development workshop where start-ups could recieve feedback on their business ahead of the finals on November 5th from some industry experts:

Briana Cross, Head of Marketing Operations (UK), Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Briana has worked within retail marketing for over 12 years and now leads Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s centre teams in the UK. With experience across both Australia and the UK, she brings knowledge of delivering strategic marketing plans across different markets. Through a deep understanding of the consumer, Briana has delivered marketing campaigns, events, new experiences and innovations to ensure our centres remain number one choice for customers and retailers.

Carolina Neri, Account Director, Brunswick Group

Carolina is a corporate and financial communication advisor specializing in the consumer and tech industries, with a strong focus on luxury retail and start-ups. Aside from her interest in these industries, at Brunswick Group, Carolina deals with reputation management and crisis communication for established and upcoming companies.

Francesca Baillieu, Commerical Analyst, True Capital

Francesca joined True, a retail and consumer innovation and investment firm, after gaining experience as an Investment Analyst at technology seed fund, Playfair Capital. Prior to this, Francesca spent two years working at ecommerce startup Evode Group as Project Coordinator. Francesca’s role at True is to identify innovative business to work with True’s corporate partners such as M&S, Abercrombie and Fitch, Morrisons, Shell and 7-Eleven (to name a few).

Katie Baron, Head of Retail, Stylus.com

Katie Baron is a journalist, author & futurist who specialises in defining and predicting the intersections between technology, pop culture and consumer behaviours. An inaugural member of London College of Fashion’s Digital Anthropology Laboratory think-tank, she’s currently Head of Retail – Trends, Insights & Innovations – at global futures agency Stylus, and contributes to Forbes on the topics of retail innovation and brand culture. She’s also authored two books on visual culture – Stylists: New Fashion Visionaries (2012) and Fashion + Music: Fashion Creatives Shaping Pop Culture (2016).

Lisa Chatterton, Business Manager, Fashion Innovation Agency,

Lisa Chatterton works at the Fashion Innovation Agency, at London College of Fashion. Here she establishes collaborations between the worlds of fashion and technology. Lisa implements innovative projects that use emerging technologies to accelerate the pace of change in the fashion industry.  Lisa has a wealth of fashion retail experience from her career in merchandising, which provides real insight into how new technologies might be applied within fashion businesses. Lisa has worked with major brands including Microsoft, Disney, Unilever and Arcadia Group, alongside designers such as Preen, JW Anderson, Steven Tai and Phoebe English. She has delivered a range of projects that include bringing Mixed Reality to London Fashion Week, using artificial intelligence to predict fashion styles and a project that Forbes described as “the first example of truly beautiful wearable tech”.

Kiara Alves-Walters, Senior Strategy Analyst, Farfetch

Kiara Alves Walters is a Senior Analyst in the Strategy & Innovation team at Farfetch, where she specialises in delivering strategic cross-functional initiatives with a focus on luxury fashion, retail and brand building. Before Farfetch, Kiara spent 4 years as a management consultant at PwC, working on a range of client engagements from global transformation projects to M&A advisory. Kiara is currently a mentor for the Farfetch Dream Assembly accelerator programme, and co-creator of the Farfetch X #FASHHACK panel events that aim to explore market trends in an open forum with the wider Fashion Tech ecosystem.

Mark Sims, Senior Development Manager, Customer Experience, John Lewis & Partners

Mark is responsible for developing John Lewis & Partners future store blueprint – what the physical experience of John Lewis will be in 2030.  He is working with teams across the business to identify what customers will want in the future and develop the capability to meet those future needs.  He has experience of developing new formats and improvements to the customer experience across Grocery, DIY and Telco retailers.  His passion is for finding ways to reduce operational costs and improve customer experience with changes to the operating model.

Marina Atarova, Dream Assembly Accelerator Lead, Farfetch & Fash-Hack Founder

Marina is an entrepreneur and mentor with over 7 years of experience working with early stage tech startups and investors. As a partner in several projects, Marina has been involved in running marketing campaigns, events, workshops and hackathons and created a network of tech investors, looking to back up early stage tech superstars. Marina also has the #Fashhack tech community for fashion and retail brands, startups and investors looking to disrupt Fashion Industry.