A rental and community platform called “Circle” is the winner of the latest iteration of the Circular Fashion Games, a “hackathon” of sorts for jump-starting circular innovations in the apparel industry.
Taking place early this week in the Netherlands, the event rallied 30 participants from 11 countries, including Agnese Metitier, an innovation manager from Italy; administrative assistant Elena Simi and sustainability consultant Thais Bloss de Lima from the United Kingdom; and entrepreneur Thalia Hesselink from the Netherlands, who joined hands to create Circle with the German outdoor outfitter Vaude in mind.
“We work on transformation of the fashion industry with change makers all over the world,” Douwe Jan Joustra, head of circular transformation at the C&A Foundation and a member of the jury, said in a statement. “The Circular Fashion Games brings professionals together in an open and challenging context. Innovative ideas arise and new connections are being made. ‘Out of the box’ thinking results into new solutions, tackling existing challenge of companies.”
Metitier, Simi, de Lima and Hesselink responded to Vaude’s challenge to “just think about a concept on how to best rent or lease [its] outdoor and camping equipment” by envisioning Circle as a way for would-be adventurers to piece together and rent outdoor and camping packages with just a few clicks of a mouse or touchscreen.
For Vaude customers who purchase equipment, Circle can also unlock tutorials on how to manage and maintain their products, as well as provide directions to nearby repair facilities or avenues for resale. The “final pillar” of the platform, its creators said, is a community forum that brings outdoor enthusiasts together, “both online and offline.”
“The commitment, energy and enthusiasm I have seen among all participants, is exactly what we need to make the fashion industry more circular and to realize this transition,” sad Monique Maissan, founder and CEO of Waste2Wear and jury chair. “Circle won this games because it’s a well-thought-out concept. In addition to the rental system, the platform offers more services that nicely link together. It is a total concept, which was also very well presented.”
The team won 1,000 euros ($1,127), plus mentorship over the coming months to explore their ideas further.
Other solutions the games manifested included a line of Schiphol workwear that employs soluble yarns so names and logos can be removed more easily, a campaign for Lenzing to increase public awareness of hazardous chemicals in clothing and a marketplace that provides access to yarns and fabrics from textile collectors like Amsterdam’s Sympany.