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Blackhorse Lane Ateliers Receives Funding for London’s First Denim Wash Lab

Blackhorse Lane Ateliers in London is among the 10 U.K.-based companies that have been selected to receive more than 1.2 million pounds ($1.4 million) by the Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology’s (BFTT) Small to Medium Enterprises Creative R&D Program.

The West London denim manufacturer, founded by Han Ates, a 2020 Rivet 50 nominee, plans to use the funds to create London’s first-ever washing lab. Blackhorse Lane Atelier will be working with the Centre for Circular Design at Chelsea College of Arts (UAL) to develop R&D around “sustainable laundering and finishing techniques to enable the emergence of a new and unique ‘London’ denim-washing aesthetic inspired by the principles of the circular economy,” BFTT stated.

A London laundry, Ates said in a video, may also ease uncertainty around Brexit as most U.K. brands rely on laundries located in the EU.

The project is slated to launch this spring.

Funding from BFTT comes at a critical time when Blackhorse Lane Ateliers has had to close its factory and store due to the growing spread of the coronavirus. Since 2016, the company become a hidden jewel in the U.K.’s denim industry, producing samples and manufacturing small quantities locally for British brands like E.L.V. Denim, and producing their own line of fit-perfected jeans made with fabrics from Italian and Turkish mills.

The BFTT Small to Medium Enterprises Creative R&D Program was created to support companies as they “innovate, research and develop the next generation of products, services and experiences in the fashion, textile and technology sectors.” This year’s recipients each emphasized sustainability as the driving force behind their concepts.

Other winners include: Tibor, which is setting up micro R&D mill to develop luxury woven textiles; Tengri, a design house developing technologies to create nonwovens out of yarn bio-waste; Segura, a tech firm developing a sustainable supplier marketplace; Awaytomars, a crowdsourcing platform for designers; Elvis & Kresse, an accessories brand creating circular business model for metal hardware; Doppelhaus, a company making sustainable, nonwoven materials; Chip[S] Board, a bio-materials company with a vision to create bioplastic using food waste as a raw material; Anna Glover, a bespoke wallpaper firm developing new material and embellishment processes; and Ananas Anam, the company behind Piñatex textiles made from pineapple leaf fibers.

The recipients will also receive support from academic and strategic businesses experts.