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Potato waste fibre start-up wins Manufacturing Futures 2024


A material science start-up developing textile fibres out of potato harvest waste has won the 2024 Manufacturing Futures Innovation Challenge from Fashion District. Fibe will receive £15,000 to advance their innovation and grow their business.

The winner was chosen by a judging panel of industry experts, including Ella Gould, Head of Sustainability and Innovation at Selfridges; Chelsea Franklin, Head of Advanced Concept Design at PANGAIA; Gillian Lipton, sustainability consultant most recently at Alexander McQueen; Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, UAL; and Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT.

Idan Gal-Shohet, co-founder of Fibe, said: “The funding will be used to expand our business, so we are able to harvest a variety of different crops and create better conditions for farmers around the world. Our mission in the end is to create materials that use far fewer environmental resources than what’s currently available.”

The runners-up, who will each receive £5,000 for their business, include Sequinova, which is making biodegradable sequins out of cellulose; and Fab Materials, which is converting hard to recycle fashion waste into valuable boards and composites, such as furniture.

Helen Lax, Director of Fashion District, said: “Congratulations to Fibe for winning this year’s Manufacturing Futures Innovation Challenge. I am thoroughly impressed by the talent and creativity of all the start-ups who took part in this year’s challenge and am hopeful for the future of the industry. There’s plenty we can do to improve and start-ups like these take us one step closer to achieving tangible change.”

Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “We look forward to working with Fibe, Sequinova and Fab Materials as they advance their innovations and start to gain commercial traction in our sector. It was a genuinely inspiring challenge and initiatives like these bring us one step closer to realising meaningful change.”

The following brands were also part of the 2024 iteration of Manufacturing Futures: Innovation Challenge:

  • Arda Biomaterials – turning spent grain from the beer brewing and whisky distilling industries into a novel, leather-like material
  • Fiiba – scaling sustainable materials for the fashion industry made from 100% agricultural waste
  • Oxford Biopigments – plant-based dyes that are naturally lightfast and perform like synthetic dyes
  • PACT – creating performance and aesthetic ready textiles made from collagen sourced from industrial by-products
  • The Seam – the wardrobe care & repair service powered by intelligent tech, that pairs specialist makers with people and brands to keep fashion out of landfill
  • TRUSS – simplifying the resale process through instant access to actionable data
  • Zori Tex – using the latest technology to optimise the sorting and availability of complex non-reusable textiles

The winner was announced at an event at The Conduit in London on 4 July 2024.