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New fashion programmes spotlight emerging talent

East London industry collaboration London Fashion District has launched two programmes for fashion and technology businesses, as part of its plans to make the city the “global hub of fashion technology”.

Designed to solve industry issues and discover the next retail-tech innovation, the Innovation Challenge Prize is open to small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that think they have what it takes to change the way people shop, and revolutionise the retail supply chain.

The entry deadline is 30 September and the winner will receive £15,000 cash from sponsor Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

This year’s judging panel includes Carol Hilsum, director of innovation at Farfetch; Richard Bonner, head of store development at John Lewis & Partners; and Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency at the London College of Fashion.

Also launched is the London Fashion Fund, which offers “early stage” fashion and fashion-tech businesses investment to “accelerate growth and create a stable and prosperous business”.

It was kick-started by £2m investment from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund regeneration programme, as well as public and private investors.

Justine Simons, deputy mayor for culture and the creative industries, said: “The Challenge Prize and London Fashion Fund will encourage innovation, and boost new and emerging talent, creating jobs and supporting fashion tech businesses in this industry.”

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