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European Social Innovation Competition to award 150,000 EUR to sustainable fashion ideas

By Marjorie van Elven

20 Jan 2020

The 2020 edition of the European Social Innovation Competition, a prize established eight years ago by the European Commission, will be focusing on sustainable fashion innovations. Under the name Reimagine Fashion: Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion, this year’s competition is looking for projects aiming to change the ways clothes are produced, bought, used and recycled.

The competition is open to citizens of all EU member states, as well as Horizon 2020 associated countries, such as Albania, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Serbia, among others. A jury will select three winning ideas in November, each of which will receive a prize of 50,000 euros (approximately 42,600 pounds).

Commenting on the decision to support fashion innovations this year, the European Commission informed in a statement that clothing accounts for between 2 percent and 10 percent of the environmental impact of overall EU consumption. Each EU citizen buys on average 12 kg (26.4 pounds) of clothing yearly. When produced, those 12 kg of clothing contribute 195 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere and use 46 billion cubic meters of water. More than half of the garments are not recycled after they are discarded, ending up on landfills instead. What’s worse, around 30 percent of clothes in Europeans’ wardrobes have not been used for at least a year.

The jury is looking for business ideas to reduce the environmental footprint of fashion, improve its social impact and change consumer behavior. Applicants don’t necessarily need to have a company: the competition is open for students, designers and creators, not just entrepreneurs.

Applications are open until Wednesday, March 4, noon CET via the competition’s website, where one can also find additional information about the prize and its eligibility criteria: https://eusic.challenges.org.

European Commission
European Social Innovation Competition