The project began with an inspirational workshop entitled ‘Sustainability of social fashion enterprises’, which took place at the Impact Hub in Amsterdam in January 2016. Ten sustainable fashion entrepreneurs from the Netherlands participated in the workshop, with the goal of developing criteria for the scaling and financial sustainability of start‑up fashion businesses.
In May 2016, over twenty fashion enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and professionals participated in a workshop entitled ‘SoFE – European Social and Sustainable Fashion Entrepreneurship. Tackling the challenges of the fashion industry to think outside of the box’, which was held in Lodz, Poland. Using design thinking methodologies and action learning approaches participants were guided in enriching their levels of innovation and learning in the fashion industry by co‑creating solutions and sharing knowledge.
Visit to London sustainable fashion organisations
On 4 November 2016, SoFE partners visited two sustainable fashion businesses. The first, Birdsong, is an online retailer who work with women’s groups and charities, with most of the revenue going back to them. They only stock clothing, which is ethically manufactured, high quality and made to last. They never digitally enhance the photographs of their models and represent “real” women. The second visit was to 69b Boutique, a shop in London’s fashionable East End, which has been running for 6 years and stocks a range of sustainable designers of clothing, shoes, bags, lingerie and beauty products. 69b Boutique has a strict policy on transparency and accountability that all of their brands must adhere to. The visits were a really good insight into both an online and bricks and mortar store – what united them was their individual stories and their connection with their suppliers and customers.