Fibe Wins Manufacturing Futures Innovation Challenge

Judges of the event pose for a photo with the winner, co-founder of Fibe, Idan Gal-Shohet
Fibe, a potato-waste textile innovator, has won the 2024 Manufacturing Future Innovation Challenge, receiving a cash injection to fuel business growth

On 4th July 2024, Manufacturing Digital attended the 2024 Manufacturing Futures: Innovation Challenge awards ceremony.

The ceremony, hosted at The Conduit in Central London, celebrated ten phenomenal emerging sustainable companies in fashion manufacturing, awarding the top three with prizes and financial support.

This ceremony comes after all the companies involved participated in a series of guided workshops and networking sessions, to gain insights and advice from critical manufacturing industry experts and build a plan for future business success. 

And the winner is...

This year's winner was Fibe, a material science based manufacturer who is developing the world’s first textile fibres out of potato harvest waste.

The company will receive UK£15,000 to further its development of sustainable, affordable and scalable textile fibres, which may rival mainstream materials in the future.

Fibe’s co-founder Idan Gal-Shohet

“The funding will be used to expand our business, so we are able to harvest a variety of different crops and create better conditions for farmers around the world," says Fibe’s co-founder Idan Gal-Shohet.

“Our mission in the end is to create materials that use far fewer environmental resources than what’s currently available.

"Thank you so much to the judges and organisers for giving us this great opportunity to grow Fibe.” 

The first runner up was Fab materials, a manufacturer which is converting difficult to recycle fashion waste into composites and valuable boards like furniture. 

The second was Sequinova, manufacturer of scalable biodegradable sequins who we previously featured here at Manufacturing Digital.

Both companies will receive UK£5,000 for their business.

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The judging panel: reaching a decision

The ten innovative companies in the running for the award were picked by the judges from a myriad of entrants.

The judges cited business scalability as a major factor in their final decision, something which helped secure Fibe, Fab materials and Sequinova’s win. 

The judging panel was dominated by fashion industry heavyweights. Individuals who are leading the sustainability and manufacturing strategies of some of the biggest fashion companies, including: 

The Judges
  • Gillian Lipton, Sustainability Director at Alexander McQueen
  • Ella Gould, Head of Sustainability and Innovation at Selfridges
  • Chelsea Franklin, Head of Advanced Concept Design at PANGAIA
  • Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, UAL
  • Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT

Before announcing the winner and runner-ups, we sat back with drinks and associated nibbles and heard further insights about the judging process.

Ella Gould, Head of Sustainability and Innovation at Selfridges and judge at Manufacturing Futures.

“I feel so energised and hopeful after seeing such a broad spectrum of pitches solving problems across fashion's entire value chain," says Ella Gould, Head of Sustainability and Innovation at Selfridges and judge at Manufacturing Futures.

“ The judges were unanimous in Fibe winning this year's award.

"The energy in the room after their pitch was palpable and we so look forward to seeing them take their fibre innovation to the next level.

"Who knew potatoes were so exciting!” 

Fashion district: helping emerging manufacturers 

The following brands were also part of the 2024 iteration of Manufacturing Futures: Innovation Challenge:  

Arda Biomaterials: turning spent grain from the beer brewing and whisky distilling industries into a novel, leather-like material

Fiiba: scaling sustainable materials for the fashion industry made from 100% agricultural waste​​​​​​​

Oxford Biopigments: plant-based dyes that are naturally lightfast and perform like synthetic dyes

PACT: creating performance and aesthetic ready textiles made from collagen sourced from industrial by-products

The Seam: The wardrobe care & repair service powered by intelligent tech, that pairs specialist makers with people and brands to keep fashion out of landfill

TRUSS: Simplifying the resale process through instant access to actionable data

Zori Tex: Using the latest technology to optimise the sorting and availability of complex non-reusable textiles 

The 2024 Manufacturing Futures: Innovation Challenge awards was a support programme created by Fashion District.

Fashion District, spearheaded by Director Helen Lax and supported by UAL, London College of Fashion and the Mayor of London was founded in 2018 to unite fashion, technology, education and business in East London.

Helen Lax, Director of Fashion District ( Image Credit: SisterLondon.com)

“Congratulations to Fibe for winning this year’s Manufacturing Futures Innovation Challenge," Helen Lax, Director of Fashion District, comments.

“ I am thoroughly impressed by the talent and creativity of all the start-ups who took part in this year’s challenge and am hopeful for the future of the industry.

"There’s plenty we can do to improve and start-ups like these take us one step closer to achieving tangible change."

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