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Fashion District & The Trampery present: Fashion Circle

Join us at our new event series for fashion businesses. Launched as part of a day of events to celebrate Poplar Works’ 1st Birthday, we will be kicking off the series with ‘REMODEL AND REPAIR’ to explore the growing interest in creating a ‘KEEP IT CULTURE’.

Two fashion tech start-ups driving forward the ‘Keep It Culture’ will fuel our discussion. We will be joined by Nina Van Volkinburg, CEO and Co-Founder of RETURE, a digital platform that connects users with a network of sustainably driven fashion designers to upcycle underused garments. Nina will be accompanied by Poplar Works based designer, Joao Maraschin, who has also completed The Trampery’s Sustainable Fashion Accelerator. They will discuss the benefits of upcycling as a means to extending the life of clothes whilst supporting independent creatives, and the importance of valuing the garments we already own.

Josephine Philips, the Founder of Sojo App, which aims to take away the hassle of repairing your clothes by providing an easy and effortless alteration service, will share insights into how research has sculpted their business journey, and their strategies for growth in a changing fashion landscape.

The Agenda:

About the Panel:

NINA VAN VOLKINBURG is the CEO and Co-Founder of RETURE, the world’s first upcycling marketplace dedicated to premium fashion. The platform connects customers to a global network of world class and emerging fashion designers to upcycle their underused garments into unique fashion pieces; giving old clothes a new lease on life. RETURE’s mission is to make upcycling the most desirable choice for modern-day fashion consumption. The platform aims to preserve craft in the digital age; extend the life of garments; and rediscover our local communities.

JOAO MARASCHIN is a London-based Brazilian designer who launched his eponymous brand, following graduation from the MA Fashion Womenswear at London College of Fashion. Through many collaborations with artisans in underserved conditions, the brand gives renewed value to their practices and helps them protect their communities. By working only with recycled or organic materials, the brand is as aware of its environmental impact as possible. Maraschin was recently shortlisted for the Drapers Sustainability Awards 2021 and awarded a residency at Thread Senegal by the Anni and Josef Albers Foundation.

JOSEPHINE PHILIPS is the Founder of Sojo, a fashion-tech business that is working to make the fashion industry more circular by making clothing alterations and repairs an easy and hassle-free process. It does this by connecting customers to local seamster businesses through an app and bicycle delivery service so that people can get their clothes fixed, with a few simple clicks.

Celebrate with Poplar Works

POPLAR WORKS, a home for anyone working or training in fashion and making, is celebrating its first birthday with a series of online events to mark its impact since launching at the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Discover the full birthday programme running from 27 February to 16 March.

Apply to MATCHES FASHION’s New Internship Programme!

Are you looking for a chance to give your career a new direction in 2021?

This year, MATCHESFASHION have begun their 4th cohort of their Internship programme – but with a twist. It is now open to everyone, not just students looking for a sandwich year placement. Regardless of your educational background or previous work experience, they are looking for the most committed and passionate individuals to join their team from July 2021.

As an Intern at MATCHESFASHION, you will be an integral member of your department, gaining rich hands- on experience with your own remit and daily responsibilities.

MATCHES are offering 12-month paid internships in 9 different departments, to help young people from varing backgrounds to break into the fashion industry. Those departments are:

So, whoever you are, and whatever your stage in life, education and career – if you can demonstrate passion, curiosity and a great deal of motivation, MATCHES look forward to hearing from you. Submit your application, including your complete open brief and CV, by Friday 12th February.

Check out for more info!


Are you looking for innovative solutions to textile waste? Interested in adopting more circular practices? If so, meet KAPDAA – The Offcut Company.

At KAPDAA – The Offcut Company, every piece matters! KAPDAA have been working with over 250 brands worldwide to convert their waste fabrics, offcuts and unsold stock into unique, sustainable branded products. Some of their signature collaborations include Selfridges, MET museum, National Portrait Gallery, Mary Katrantzou, Christopher RAEBURN, Roland Mouret, Alice + Olivia, DAKS, Holland & Sherry, and The Woolmark Company. 

An example of just one of the many products offered by KAPDAA – The Offcut Company

KAPDAA was born with a simple idea on how to reduce beautiful, unused materials of various sizes from going to waste. Co-founder, Nish, has been determined to eradicate fashion waste in the most creative and sustainable manner, all-the-while supporting a circular economy. Over the past 3 years, KAPDAA has saved more than 7800 metres of textiles and wallpaper from going to landfill. 


The process is simple. KAPDAA’s Zero-Waste Advisors counsel you with the best possible options, keeping in mind the type and size of your offcuts, unused textiles, misprinted materials, unsold stock or end of rolls.

Next, the advisors share the product catalogue, which includes notebooks, eye masks, face masks, collapsible sunglass cases, tote bags and more. All products can be customised to feature your fabrics and branding. 

Following the product selection, send your materials to KAPDAA’s offices in London. The design team will work alongside you to make a bespoke product, as per your brand and requirements.

All materials are sent to the Sustainable Hub in India for product manufacture. KAPDAA’s ethos ensures that every element of the process is sustainable: using natural glue, recycled paper, soot /natural ink for printing, biodegradable packaging and supporting local vendors.

KAPDAA provides fair trade employment to local artisans’, who handcraft and quality check each product. In doing so, they contributes towards organically increasing living standards. Once made, the items are shipped back to your studios using electric vans.


For more information on upcycling your textile waste, please get in touch with the KAPDAA team at

Visit & Purchase:

Instagram: @kapdaa_offcut

Hashtags: #changetheworld #everypiecematters


The London Fashion Fund is currently open to expressions of interest from fashion and biotech start-ups to close their latest round of investment. EOI’s will be assessed across five different criteria:

If you meet this criteria, the London Fashion Fund would love to hear from you! To find out more and to send your expression of interest here.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is Friday 19th February 2021.


London Fashion Fund has already invested in 8 fashion and tech start-ups in this round of investment. Learn more about the awardees and how they are innovating in the fashion and tech space below.

The businesses that we have supported have one thing in common; extremely bright and talented founders who are passionate about changing the fashion industry into an industry that is both creative and responsible in every way. They are inspiring and forward thinking, and have surprised and delighted us.

Jane Shepherdson, LFF Director; Fashion Industry & Retail Advisor

BEEN London

BEEN London is a sustainable accessories brand that rescues materials from landfill and handcrafts them into beautiful, useful bags that are made to last.

Clothes Doctor

Extends the life of clothing by repairing and upcycling at their own workshop, by experienced seamstresses & produces a range of natural, plastic-free luxury clothing care products.

Compare Ethics

Compare Ethics is the technology platform that verifies sustainable products, establishing trust and transparency between consumers and fashion businesses.


Good Cotton doesn’t have to cost the Earth. HydroCotton is a technology company pioneering climate resilient cotton agriculture for the 21st Century.

KAPDAA – The Offcut Company

Kapdaa works with Fashion Designers to turn their offcuts into quality branded products, saving 7400 meters of fabric each year from landfill.


Own-Kind combines the luxury of personal styling with the convenience of online. Give or receive Styling advice and digitise your wardrobe, on the free App.

Nuw Wardrobe

Nuw is an app to share and swap clothes to extend the life-cycle of the clothes we buy in order to reduce our collective fashion carbon footprint.


Founded on a fundamental belief that no bridesmaids dress should be worn only once, Rewritten produce innovative styles, that mix & match, in bold colours with flattering silhouettes that can be worn again and again.


Fashion District, in collaboration with the Fashion Innovation Agency, is pleased to announce the launch of the Manufacturing Futures 2021: Fashion District Innovation Challenge Prize, sponsored by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, on January 28th 2021.

Join us at the digital launch to be the first to find out about the challenge, hear insights & tips from industry speakers and our judging panel, and network with London’s fashion, tech & innovation community!

About the Challenge

Fashion District challenges are designed to find innovative solutions to current industry issues across retail, manufacture & design. Manufacturing Futures will give start-ups & SMEs the chance to win cash prizes, support, and the opportunity to pitch to some of the industry’s leading brands & innovators. We welcome applications from tech start-ups who believe that their business has the potential to revolutionise any part of the fashion supply chain. Areas could include:

•             Materials Innovation
•             Manufacturing Processes
•             Waste Management
•             Supply-Chain & Logistics
•             Transparency & Traceability
•             End-of-Use & Circular Economy

Our Judges & Prizes

Manufacturing Futures 2021 brings together high-profile industry leaders and experts committed to supporting the next wave of innovation. Our esteemed judging panel comprises of: 

Prof Danielle George MBE FIET, President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology
Craig Smith, Head of Research & Development, Pangaia
Julian Burnett, VP Global Markets – Distribution, IBM
Elise Falhen, Investment Manager, H&M CO:LAB
Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency, London College of Fashion, UAL
A MAKE UK Representative

Critical friends will also include Fashion For Good, Supply Compass, University of Cambridge, London Waste and Recycling Board, Digital Catapult, WRAP, UKFT and Lewis Silken, with more to be announced!

This year, start-ups will be competing to win a £15,000 cash prize to invest in their idea, sponsored by the Institution of Engineering and Technology alongside other prizes from IBM, The Mills Fabrica and Common Objective to be announced during the launch.

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.

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.


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.


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. 

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.

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.


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.


FavourUp helps fashion, retail, and travel brands create localised user-generated content at scale, and provide consumer insights down to a postcode level.

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.

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.


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.  


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.


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.


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.


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.

Highly Commended


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.



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!


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, 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: | For eligibility and info about LFF click here



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.


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.


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.