A few months ago, we set out on a quest to find some of East London’s brightest rising stars in the fashion industry. We were looking for brands challenging the way we do fashion to take part in our first ever fashion-focused Echo++ accelerator programme – Fashion++.
In January 2018, we welcomed a cohort of 13 inspiring entrepreneurs to the programme, co-designed and delivered with London College of Fashion. We put them through their paces with an intensive four week programme covering everything from finance and marketing to fashion production and personal resilience. We were delighted to have some superstar contributors from the Echo network, ranging from editor in chief of Sublime Magazine, Laura Santamaria, to Sophie Slater, co-founder of ethical fashion brand, Birdsong.
Fashion++ culminated with Demo Day, hosted at Plexal, where our entrepreneurs pitched to an industry panel including founder of Gallivant, Nick Steward and founder of Fashion Business Education, Frederica Boateng.
Our judges selected three winning pitches: Russell from Cushn Company, who’s redefining the industry’s approach to waste with his zero waste studio and upcycled products, Jade from Rozenbroek, whose menswear brand is built on circular economy principles, and Sandra from Sabodé, who dresses auras, not just people (when you see Sandra’s work, you’ll know what we mean!).
Our Echo++ programmes go far beyond just the four weeks – the Fashion++ businesses are invited into the Echo community, and bring a whole host of skills and expertise to share, from social media to design, photography to tailoring. Here’s what one of our participants, Hadrian from Urban Gilt, had to say about the programme:
“Fashion++ has given us a network of peer and industry contacts who have built their own businesses and know exactly what’s required. You can’t put a value on a support network like that.”