Kering has partnered with global innovation platform Plug and Play for an accelerator that will identify and invest in textile start-ups with the aim of fast-tracking sustainable innovation within the luxury and apparel industries.
The French group, parent of brands including Gucci, Puma, Boucheron and Stella McCartney, is the first founding anchor partner of the Plug and Play — Fashion for Good accelerator based in Amsterdam. The Fashion for Good initiative was set up with an initial grant from the C&A Foundation.
“Via the accelerator, the partners will identify innovative start-ups and support them in scaling up their technologies, methodologies and business models. As such, Kering and the partners aim to stimulate disruptive innovation, transform conventional processes in luxury and enable the widespread adoption of sustainable practices,” they said in a joint statement.
The Fashion for Good center is set to launch in Amsterdam on Thursday with a pitching session where early-stage innovators will present their projects and technologies. The 10 start-ups selected to take part in the three-month mentoring program will be revealed in early April.
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The start-ups will focus on three priority areas: raw material sourcing; fabric and garment production, and end of use. Kering and Plug and Play will provide training, mentorship, networking opportunities and other resources.
Kering recently unveiled a three-pillar sustainability plan targeting environmental impact, social aspects and innovation.
“The future of luxury is dependent on innovation to help weave sustainability into every niche of our industry, from raw material sourcing and manufacturing processes to end of use,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs of Kering.
“Collaborations like the Plug and Play — Fashion for Good accelerator will allow the textile industry to move more rapidly to find essential solutions to the challenges we all face,” she added.
Saeed Amidi, founder and chief executive officer of Plug and Play, said it has helped more than 7,000 innovators achieve their dreams in 10 years of investing in start-ups. The platform is best known for its investments in companies including PayPal and Dropbox.
“Now we want to build our dream: a world of innovators committed to improving our global community and environment. It will be an honor and a pleasure to work with major fashion brands like Kering to help build and grow that vision,” he said.
Plug and Play last year partnered with Galeries Lafayette Group on the launch of an accelerator for retail and fashion tech start-ups, which recently entered its second edition.