In the UK, clothing is the eighth largest sector in terms of household spending but has the fourth largest impact on the environment, behind housing, transport, and food (WRAP). The main reasons for this are the impact of materials and clothing production, the amount of clothes we buy, and the way we care for and dispose of them after use. To meet Climate Change targets, this must change!
Adopting more sustainable fashion is a challenge - to major brands and SMEs. Although some progress has been made, there are still many challenges – both technical and commercial –t hat need to be resolved. Environmental sustainability could mean changes to materials and sourcing, changing techniques in manufacture, dyeing and finishing; reducing waste and logistics; making products that are easier to recycle and creating new recycling systems; and adopting new ways to sell, lease or swap!
Ultimately the most effective way to reduce fashion’s environmental footprint is to make and sell less and provide items that consumers want to keep in use for longer –which is hard to do commercially.
Reducing the social impact of clothing could involve selecting from a smaller number of responsible suppliers; effective supplier approval processes; investing in wages, training, working conditions and improving transparency across the supply chain.
Small and new fashion businesses usually lack the resources to have a big impact on the whole supply chain, but they can be the source of amazing innovations that can open-up new opportunities and ways of doing things.
The Big House Sustainable Fashion Accelerator
Our new Sustainable Fashion Accelerator is designed to share technical knowledge and expertise, promote peer learning and innovative collaborations and to provide a test bed for SMEs to overcome some of the challenges they face.
- A workshop programme on key themes
- 1:1mentoring from expert mentors
- high level networking and pitching opportunities with potential advisors, clients or investors
- Access to grants and student talent and consultancy projects
The programme will launch in December 2021 with an event to raise awareness, attract potential participants, and start the knowledge sharing process with a wider audience.
SFA participants will be selected via a competitive process. Between five -ten successful businesses will then be supported virtually (2021) and/or in person for 2022.
SFA participants may be:
1.SMEs that are trading and ready to scale, with a developed product with the ambition and potential for significant growth through expanding their market horizons.
2.SMEs that are pre-revenue, but have at least one person working on the business and a product/ service that is close to full development but needs some help to launch onto the market.
3.Established SMEs that wish to pivot to enhance their sustainable fashion offer.
*We will work with businesses that have a strong sustainability focus, although the precise focus will depend on the level of demand.
Our launch event will feature a keynote presentation from sustainable fashion expert, Charlotte Turner. The online event will be fully interactive, with panel discussions, Q and A sessions and opportunities to get involved.
Charlotte Turner (AIEMA) has over a decade of experience supporting international brands, retailers and manufacturers to set up and run responsible businesses with long-term sustainability strategies, create and sell high quality products and services in the most socially and environmentally just ways possible, and communicate authentically about sustainability.
Through roles including Head of Sustainable Fashion and Textiles at leading consultancy Eco-Age, and as a British Fashion Council mentor, she has supported numerous start-ups, SMEs and large-scale global brands, retailers and manufacturers to understand, manage and improve their social and environmental performance through training, developing and implementing long-term sustainability strategies, action plans and tools, and introducing alternative materials and processes to supply chains. She has then guided clients to transparently communicate these strategies and achievements with diverse audiences across multiple media platforms.
For further information and booking links: