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The Fashion District is delighted to announce the launch of Manufacturing Futures 2024: Fashion District Innovation Challenge Prize on 8th Feb 2024.

Our annual innovation challenges are are designed to find solutions to current industry issues, while supporting new innovations and SMEs. This year our focus is manufacturing, and we’re specifically on the lookout for technological innovations and sustainable solutions which are solving any of the complex fashion manufacturing challenges facing the industry. This could include anything from:

  • Materials innovation
  • Digital innovation
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Waste management
  • Supply-chain and logistics
  • Transparency and traceability
  • Circular economy
  • End-of-use

We also seek to encourage tech solutions, perhaps from other sectors, that could be applied to fashion manufacturing and create interdisciplinary connections between technologists and engineers, and fashion creatives and manufacturers.

Manufacturing Futures will give start-ups and SMEs the chance to win cash prizes, business support, and the opportunity to pitch to some of the industry’s leading brands and innovators.

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25 MARCH 2024

Deadline to submit applications.

25 APRIL 2024

Shortlisted finalists announced.

9 MAY 2024

Critical Friends Day where industry professionals will critique the finalist's design proposition across different specialisms before their final presentation.

30 MAY 2024

Production and Business Development day, in partnership with FIA and Techstyler. International industry experts will help finalists to evaluate and refine their technological solutions.

19 JUNE 2024

Investment Readiness Development Day with TRUE Global where shortlisted applicants will be given support with investment strategy and delivering their pitches ahead of the final presentation to the judging panel.

3rd JULY 2024

Closed presentation event with the finalists to industry experts from UKFT, Selfridges, FIA, PANGAIA, and Alexander McQueen. Following the presentations, the winner will be announced at an Awards Supper for industry guests, supported by venue partner The Conduit.

Judges & Critical Friends

Gillian Lipton

MANUFACTURING FUTURES JUDGE | Gillian has worked in the retail sector for over 25 years and has always pursued opportunities to make a difference. Having worked on and implemented sustainability strategies for some of the most well-known names on the British High Street including: Monsoon Accessorize, Topshop, Burton, and Miss Selfridge, Gillian is currently Sustainability Director at Alexander McQueen where she and her team of four work with colleagues from all departments and globally to maximise the company's positive impacts.

Adam Mansell

MANUFACTURING FUTURES JUDGE | Adam is the CEO of UKFT. Having joined the industry 25 years ago, he has worked across a wide number of trade bodies, representing all aspects of the fashion and textile supply chain. Additionally, Adam is Chair of the Future Fashion Factory, Board Member at the University of Leeds’ School of Design Industrial Advisory Board, and Vice President of Ginetex, the international care labelling organisation, as well as holding positions at CAPITB Trust, Textiles 2030 and the Institute for Positive Fashion.

Ella Gould

MANUFACTURING FUTURES JUDGE | Selfridges vision is to re-invent retail, creating a sustainable future for people and planet. In Ella’s role as Head of Sustainability, she leads strategy and exploration to achieve the key goals that underpin this ambition including: more sustainable sourcing, 45% circular by 2030, Net Zero by 2040 and the future of luxury through a positive impact lens.

Matthew Drinkwater

MANUFACTURING FUTURES JUDGE | Matthew is a world-renowned expert in emerging technologies and their application to the creative industries. A specialist in immersive technologies (XR/MR/AR/VR), he and his team are building pathways for a truly digitised world. Named as a ‘fashion-tech trailblazer’ by Draper’s and a ‘pioneer and a visionary’ by Wired, Matthew has delivered ground-breaking experiences and a stunning range of projects that have captured the imagination of both the fashion and technology industries.

Chelsea Franklin

MANUFACTURING FUTURES JUDGE | Currently the Head of Advanced Concept Design at PANGAIA, Chelsea has over ten years of experience working at the intersection of technology, design and research. She has led multiple projects commercialising new technology into fashion and lifestyle products, exploring new materials, production methods and supply chain models.

Criteria, Eligibility & Terms and Conditions


Each applicant and proposed manufacturing solution will be judged against 4 criterion:

Criterion 1: Solving an identified problem
An identified need and/or gap in the market
An innovative concept with a clear solution

Criterion 2: Size of the market
A USP that stands out from others currently in the market?
Is it a growing market and a future opportunity?

Criterion 3: Potential to scale
Addresses a specific and relevant industry issue
Strong plans for development and delivery

Criterion 4: Leadership and strength of team
Exceptional entrepreneurship
Relevant industry and/tech skill set within team or the individual



To be eligible to apply you must have a tech-based solution, be a registered business, and either be operating in the UK or have plans to pilot/operate in the UK.



Click here to read the terms and conditions for Manufacturing Futures 2024. This competition is being promoted by Fashion District, University of the Arts London, 272 High  Holborn, London WC1V 7EY.