STORIES FROM STOCKHOLM
“Revolutions always start in small groups." - These words of wisdom come from Edwin Keh. He’s CEO of The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles & Apparel (HKRITA) and a force behind countless innovations.
We heard from Edwin - in person, last month when we were invited as Global Change Award (GCA) alumni for the 2022 GCA accelerator week. As a small brand, Edwin's words reminded Team Petit Pli that constraints, like lack of money and lack of people are not wholly negative things. They can be wholly positive. He explained using relevant historical that revolutions - en masse, typically only occur when people with a sense of urgency get together in small rooms. Edwin's speech allowed us the opportunity to reflect on how far Petit Pli has come since 2019; our room has changed and the people in it. Both variables have scaled in equal measure.
Helena Helmersson, CEO of H&M Group
If you are new here, the GCA is an awards programme and accelerator run by H&M Foundation. In 2019 - the year we won, 6,512 innovators applied. The programme is competitive for good reason, it's the best in the game. Think Y-combinator for sustainable fashion innovators.
As alumni, we get to catchup with fellow innovators in Stockholm once a year. The 2022 accelerator week happened in June instead of March. Meaning we got experience sunshine in Sweden - a true rarity, and a never ending day.
This time around, we also had the opportunity to exhibit our production ready #clothesthatgrow solutions at HM Group HQ. It was part of the new Planet Positive Perspectives Forum was nothing short of awesome. Last time we were in Stockholm in 2019, our sustainable childrenswear, technical outerwear, accessories and packaging innovations were all concepts. All fierce concepts, but concepts nonetheless.
Our stand was flanked by co-winners stretching all the way from 2022 to 2017. It was a room made up of people who share common interests and values, that have all leant on each other to ideate our visions and offer valuable support during the bumps, cliff drops and highs that come with entrepreneurship.
Post pandemic, taking part in person felt extra special. And took a lot of organisation to pull off - it was canceled 5 times.
Now we’re back and the suitcases are unpacked, we want to introduce you to some of our fellow changemakers, making waves:
Part based in San Francisco and Hongkong, Unspun is first and foremost a tech for good company, making the perfect pair of sustainable jeans. They won the GCA in 2017 for their idea. Now an established brand and an app, you take a 3D body scan on the Unspun app enabling jeans to be made to order which fit perfectly. Unspun are on a mission, a mission to reduce global carbon emissions by 1% through automated, localised, and intentional manufacturing. Cool hey?
Fellow 2019 winners, Dimpora are mountain and outdoor obsessed. No wonder, as they’re based in Switzerland! Co-founders Mario and Anna are both Chemists. They entered fashion after finding planet friendly alternatives to waterproof membranes. These are the thin coatings found on all waterproof and rainproof garments. Way back, we interviewed Anne from Dimpora, check it out here.
2022 winners SaltyCo are on a mission to revolutionise insulated stuffing in outerwear. Say goodbye to goose down! The team started out like Petit Pli - a Design Engineering student project at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College. Saltyco uses regenerative agriculture - primarily growing SaltyCo yarns on saline (salty) rich peat bogs. This means they can re-grow native plants that heal land at the same time of producing natural fibers which can keep you toasty.
CottonAce by Wadhwani AI also hail from the 2022 GCA alumni, they’re new friends. The problem they’re here to intercept? Every year, unnecessary amounts of cotton crops are lost to pests! CottonAce is an app that guides smallholder cotton farmers in India and other developing nations to reduce pesticides and increase yield and incomes. They’ve developed real time recommendations on the optimal time to take preventive action and protect farms from avoidable crop losses.
With hope this whistle-stop voyage has introduced innovation to your day,
Over and out,