Products of Change


Tue 03 Jan 2023 | by Rob Hutchins

eBay UK and the British Fashion Council unveil Circular Fashion Innovator's Fund winners

The new year brings new strides forward for sustainable fashion in 2023 as eBay UK and the British Fashion Council unveil the six winners of the Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund – providing each with a £15,000 grant to accelerate their growth. Winners of the 2022 initiative include a social network for fashion lovers to rent and lend quality items to each other, an on-demand tailoring service to alter and repair clothing, and the innovator of a new natural dye made from food waste. Under the initiative, each of the six winners will receive mentoring from industry leaders as well as a £15,000 grant to help them scale their small businesses. An overall winner will receive an additional £10,000 grant. The six winning businesses of the 2022 Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund, are: By Rotation – the world’s first social network for fashion lovers to rent and lend quality items to each other. It already has over 500,000 downloads in the UK and is soon to expand to the US. Circular Textiles Foundation – a business that links clothing design, takeback, and recycling technologies using QR technology and certification systems. This includes a credible circularity mark for retailers, recognising clothing designed to be recycled into fibre. The Seam – an on-demand tailoring service making clothing alterations and repairs accessible through tech. It has already completed 10,000 repairs and provides whitelabelled care and repair platforms to fashion retailers, enabling brands to encourage tailoring over returns and extend the life of what they produce. SAGES – an innovator of natural dyes made from food waste, providing a commercial alternative to harmful synthetic dyes. SAGES focuses on circularity at all stages of the dye process with the aim to create a full sustainable end-to-end product. Pip and Henry – the designer of unique sustainable shoes for kids, made with innovative recycled and bio-materials. It also provides recycling solutions and eco-educational content and stories for kids. Circular Inc. Ltd – a business providing circular design and sustainable manufacturing to accompany radio frequency identification (RFID)-assisted commercial repair and upcycling of clothing. These six winners will now participate in a six-week mentoring programme, featuring one-on-one sessions with business leaders from eBay and organisations including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, as well as networking opportunities, followed by the financial support. Last year, eBay UK reported the sale of two pre-loved fashion items every second. Growth of the pre-loved fashion sector has been particularly strong since eBay partnered with the reality TV series Love Island in the summer. The Fund aims to bring new technology and services to the market that can help people think and shop differently, with a particular focus on areas such as customer experience, circular inventory and services, and social commerce. Lucy Peacock, head of Pre-Loved, eBay UK, said: “Circularity is the future of fashion, and over recent years start-ups and small businesses have been at the forefront of solutions to make it a reality. “The winners of the Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund epitomise this, and we hope the mentoring and grant will help scale these promising businesses in size and reach, and in turn, make sustainable fashion practices more accessible to more people.” As part of the winner selection process, the British Fashion Council leverages its industry expertise and access to fashion innovation businesses to assess and feed back on circular solutions. Caroline Rush, ceo at the British Fashion Council, said: “We are delighted to work with eBay to drive transformative, positive change by supporting entrepreneurs that are helping to deliver circular solutions for the fashion industry of tomorrow. “The Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund champions pioneers in this space, and we were incredibly impressed by the expertise, commitment, and leadership demonstrated by each of our winners. “We’d like to congratulate all six winners on what they have achieved so far and look forward to supporting them as they build, scale, and thrive.”