The jury panel, which included changemaker Yara Shahidi and Mr. Tommy Hilfiger, awarded the €200,000 and mentorship prize package to Rwandese and Dutch startups to support their endeavor to reshape the fashion landscape.
Tommy Hilfiger, which is owned by PVH Corp, is pleased to announce 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 from 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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
Clothes to Good, a South African-based social enterprise that creates micro-business opportunities and jobs for people with disabilities through textile recycling, was awarded €15,000. “We feel blessed to be recognized by the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge viewers, it’s an experience we will never forget,” said Tammy Greyling, Operations Director and Occupational Therapist at Clothes to Good. “It’s humbling to know others believe in our dream to really make a difference for people with disabilities and their families. Receiving this award will empower Clothes to Good to continue creating micro-business and job opportunities through textile recycling from the South African community.”
The jurors who oversaw the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge final event included:
- Mr. Tommy Hilfiger
- Martijn Hagman, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe
- Yara Shahidi, award-winning actress, producer, and change agent
- Esther Verburg, EVP, Sustainable Business and Innovation, Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe
- Adrian Johnson, Entrepreneur, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Technology and Media at INSEAD
- Katrin Ley, Managing Director of Fashion for Good and Founding Curator of the Amsterdam Global Shapers Hub
- Yvonne Bajela, founding member and principal at investment firm Impact X Capital
Applications for the fourth installment of the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge will open in March 2022. Entrepreneurs who are interested in receiving more information are invited to register here: https://platform.younoodle.com/competition/thffc_2022.
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 information about Tommy Hilfiger’s sustainability journey, which is powered by PVH’s Forward Fashion strategy, can be found on https://responsibility.pvh.com/tommy/.