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Cohort 1

Emerging Fashion Designers and Brands

Cohort 1 of the Evo Fashion programme is designed to support emerging fashion businesses. With the programme now underway, catch up on the journey so far...

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The Cohort 1 Journey

After a packed-out launch event in December 2023 with inspirational speakers from London's sustainable fashion sector, we opened applications for the first cohort.

 

In February 2024, applications closed and our selection panel then had the difficult task of selecting the businesses who met the criteria and demonstrated their passion and commitment to building their business in 2024.

The Selection Panel

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meet The Participants

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The Launchpad

Once the applicants had been confirmed, the wheels were set in motion. We kicked off the program in March 2024 with a Welcome Dinner at Silo (the world's first zero waste restaurant) and a bumper two-day launchpad event facilitated by Vanessa Podmore, Tom Farrand and Helen Lax.
 

What happened at the Cohort 1 launchpad?

Intro to Evo Fashion

Understanding the Fashion Industry's Impact on Climate

All the applicants were given an in-depth overview of course content and themes, met our lead facilitators and connected with their fellow cohort members

Vanessa Podmore then set the scene and demonstrated the importance of leading with sustainability

Reflect

Energy Management

Peer to Peer Group Session

Welcome Dinner

The group took a moment to reflect and share their thoughts in an exercise that fostered active and empathetic listening

Tom Farrand then delved into everyone's ways of working, personal values and protecting their wellbeing as founder

Everyone had a check-in with one another, shared challenges faced as a founder and business, and built mutual support and collaboration

We all then headed to Silo, the world's first zero waste restaurant, to enjoy fantastic food and continue conversations with themes and talking points provided

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session 1

On the 19th March 2024, the group participated in the first full-day session with workshops facilitated by Vanessa Podmore, Tom Farrand, Phoebe English, Amanda Johnston and Nick Lambert.

What happened in Session 1?

Finding Flow – Energy Management

Sustainability Statement

This morning's session with Tom Farrand delved into current ways of working, creativity and what gives and takes energy away from you. We explored the conditions that enable you to find your flow and do your best work, also looking at ways to avoid burnout.

Everyone crafted a statement that expresses their commitment and approach towards sustainability. Guidance and tips were provided to help communicate values, intentions and strategies on environmental impact and social responsibility.

Design for Future

Minimising Impact: Raw Materials

There’s No Silver Bullet

Producing Responsibly

We had an ‘in conversation’ session with fashion designer Phoebe English and Nick Lambert, Circular Product Lead at Primark Cares, that focused on challenging the status quo and thinking differently about business and products. 

This session delved into key raw materials to help participants understand their risks and impact, whilst also exploring less harmful alternatives. We navigated legal obligations and compliance in relation to chemical use within the textile industry, before discussing the pro’s and con’s of deadstock materials.

Vanessa joined Amanda Johnston, Curator and Educational Consultant at The Sustainable Angle, to share tips and advice on how to master the art of raw material selection and measure the impact of your material choices. 

In this module, Vanessa Podmore guided us through manufacturing products whilst considering both people and the planet. We delved into sustainable and ethical supply chains, gaining invaluable insights into responsible production practices. 

Knowledge is Power

In this final session of the day, we rounded up of changing sustainability legislation with a spotlight on combating greenwashing and how new voices such as Compare Ethics are making a difference. The group gained invaluable insights from the investment and wider stakeholder communities, understanding their perspectives on sustainable practices and why it matters.

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Session 2

On the 16th April 2024, our cohort 1 participants attended their second in-person session in Fish Island Village, London. 

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What happened in Session 2?

Evo people coach Tom Farrand kicked off the day by delving into a business model canvas that encouraged the designers and brands to really refine and reflect on their value proposition.

Next up, sustainable fashion expert, Natalie Binns, discussed various avenues to reach a target audience and drive revenue growth, as as well as additional revenue streams including repair and rental.

Lead facilitator, Vanessa Podmore, joined us remotely to host an in conversation with Patrick Grant, Founder of Community Clothing and judge on The Great British Sewing Bee. Patrick shared the journey of Community Clothing and his motivations for starting the company: creating jobs in the UK and making really good clothes that are affordable. His advice on effective communication as a sustainable brand focused on authenticity, stating: 'It's easy to communicate the truth with passion.'

Creative business consultant, Stuart Balmer, got stuck into financial planning and covered key subjects such as raising finance, managing cash flow, setting budgets, understanding KPIs and more.

In June, our Evo Fashion cohort visited The Materialist's pop-up showroom, ran in partnership with the Circular Fashion Innovation Network and British Fashion Council, to explore the benefits of using deadstock fabric in their production processes.

After browsing the textile swatches, we were treated to an inspiring talk moderated by Mimma Viglezio and featuring an incredible lineup of speakers including Sarah Coleman, Margaret Howell; Alexis Cepeda Maule, ex-Reformation UK; and Zain Ali, Circular Fashion Innovation Network.

 

The panel shared practical insights on how to embed eco-design and sustainable practices into business models, and demonstrated the importance of collaboration and sharing knowledge in the fashion industry.

june Showroom visit

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Keep in the loop

If you'd like to follow the Evo Fashion journey, follow us on LinkedIn!

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Overview

With an exciting schedule of workshops, peer-to-peer sessions and a showcase event to come, we're excited to see what this inspiring group of businesses will achieve over the coming weeks.

  • 1-2 March: Launchpad Kick-off Weekend (IRL)

  • 19 March: Monthly workshop (IRL)

  • March: Peer-to-Peer sessions (Online)

  • 16 April: Monthly workshop (IRL)

  • April: Peer-to-Peer sessions (Online)

  • 14 May: Monthly workshop (IRL) 

  • May: Peer-to-Peer sessions (Online)

  • 4 June: Monthly workshop (IRL)

  • 12-14 June: Photoshoot (IRL)

  • 3 July: Cohort Showcase at Manufacturing Futures Awards evening (IRL)

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 INTERESTED in applying?

Applications for Cohort 2 are now open!

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