Tommy Hilfiger, which is owned by PVH Corp. announced Lalaland and UZURI K&Y as winners of the third Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge, a dedicated global program designed to find and support ideas that lead to a more inclusive fashion landscape. The program’s final virtual event took place on January 12th-13th, where the six finalists pitched their concepts to a prestigious jury panel. The winners will share a prize fund of €200,000 and receive a year-long mentorship with internal experts from Tommy Hilfiger and INSEAD — one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools. They also secured a place in an INSEAD program that brings people, cultures, and ideas together to cultivate innovative leaders.
“This empowering challenge brought together passionate and hard-working individuals with fresh ideas on how to create a future of fashion we can all look forward to,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “It was an impressive final event, and I am proud to continue this journey with the entrepreneurs who presented groundbreaking and impactful solutions that challenge how we think, build, and create.”
Tommy Hilfiger’s mission is to become a leading sustainable designer lifestyle company that Wastes Nothing and Welcomes All, through how it creates its product, manages its operations, and connects with its communities and stakeholders. More than 430 startups and scaleups from 22 countries submitted their ideas in January 2021 for this initiative, which echoes Tommy Hilfiger’s sustainability vision to Waste Nothing and Welcome All. This year’s program particularly strived to amplify and support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs who are working to advance their communities, while fostering a more inclusive future for the fashion industry. For the first time, fans of the TOMMY HILFIGER brand were able to participate in the initial phases of the challenge, where they cast their digital vote to help narrow down the applications to identify the finalists. Alongside Tommy Hilfiger associates at the final event, they were also invited to vote for their favorite pitch to award an additional €15,000 to one of the finalists.
Lalaland, a Netherlands-based platform that uses artificial intelligence to generate customized and inclusive synthetic models of different ethnicities, was awarded €100,000. “Creating technology that drives a more inclusive and diverse e-commerce platform is at the heart of our vision at Lalaland,” said Michael Musandu, co-founder, and CEO of Lalaland. “Being part of the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge brought incredible insights and will elevate our A.I. solution to reach more people than we could have imagined. Through donning this achievement, our team cannot wait to empower a welcoming online shopping experience, so no consumer feels under-represented.”
UZURI K&Y, a Rwandan-based eco-friendly shoe brand that uses recycled car tires from sub-Saharan Africa and employs local youth, was also awarded €100,000. “We are honored to be named a winner of the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge,” said Kevine Kagirimpundu, co-founder, and CEO of UZURI K&Y. “This opportunity has provided mentorship, strategic guidance, and given us a platform to share our dream of bringing sustainable footwear options from Africa to the global market. We are dedicated to drive real impact and inspire the youth of today to craft a cleaner future.”