European Commission launches sustainable fashion competition

Submitted by Alina Danieles… on 25 January 2020

The European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize run by the European Commission and partners, across all EU Member States and Horizon 2020 countries. The Competition acts as a beacon for social innovation in Europe. Each year it tackles a different issue and awards projects that represent innovative solutions.

The European Social Innovation Competition supports early-stage ideas and facilitates a network of radical innovators who are shaping society for the better. Since 2013, the Competition has awarded cash prizes to 24 social innovation projects and provided training to a generation of social innovators from across the EU and Horizon 2020 countries.

The Competition is open to social innovators, entrepreneurs, students, designers, businesses and anyone else who wants to help tackle this year’s theme: Challenging Plastic Waste. All you need is an idea. If selected, social innovators receive technical assistance in developing their projects. They will also have the opportunity to take part in the Social Innovation Academy, a three day residential event at which 30 Semi-Finalists receive coaching from experts and can network and exchange ideas with each other.  In total, 200,000 EUR will be awarded in prize money - three winners are each awarded 50,000 EUR in prize money. In addition one semi-finalist from the previous year who has showed the most impact with their project over the last 12 months will receive the Impact Prize of 50,000 EUR.

Under the theme Reimagine Fashion: Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion, this year’s competition is looking for early stage projects that will change the ways we produce, buy, use and recycle fashion and encourage a more sustainable change in consumer behaviour – as well as to raise further awareness around the topic itself. The competition is open to entrants from across the EU Member States and Horizon 2020 associated countries (which includes Iceland and Norway) until the application deadline on Wednesday 4 March. A jury will select three winning ideas in November, each of which will receive an award of €50,000.

The 2020 Competition is looking to support innovative ideas and projects that aim to reduce the overall environmental footprint and improve the societal impact of fashion, help make it more accessible and fair, and contribute to changing behaviours in a sustainable way. Solutions should clearly aim at delivering impact, pursue sustainability, and be scalable or replicable post-competition - at the local, national or European levels. 

Competition milestones

  • 12 February: Launch Event (Valencia); registration now available!

The official Launch Event for the 2019 Competition theme: Reimagine Fashion - Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion.

  • July: Social Innovation Academy (Amsterdam)

A residential event at which 30 Semi-Finalists receive coaching from experts and can network and exchange ideas with each other.

  • October: Awards Ceremony

10 Finalists are given an opportunity to promote their project by pitching live on stage at our prestigious Awards Ceremony. At the Ceremony, 200,000 EUR in prize money will be awarded.

For more information about the Competition please visit here. For questions please contact: info [at] 

Share this Article