Tommy Hilfiger has announced the winners of its 2019 Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge.
The fashion brand has crowned Apon Wellbeing and A Beautiful Mess the winners of the second edition of its annual global challenge, which aims to support start-ups and small businesses focused on bringing about positive change within the fashion industry. Each of the winners will receive €75,000 in prize money to help them scale up their initiatives as well as valuable entrepreneurial mentorship opportunities.
Bangladesh-based scale-up Apon Wellbeing opens fair-priced shops in factories, giving workers the chance to stock up on daily essentials and benefit from a points scheme for free health insurance and health services. Dutch start-up A Beautiful Mess, meanwhile, runs a creative space in which refugees can support themselves financially by creating sustainable clothing. A third start-up, pyjama and loungewear brand Sudara, which trains female victims of sex trafficking with professional sewing skills, won the "Audience Favorite Vote" and received €10,000.
"At Tommy Hilfiger, we're committed to wasting nothing and welcoming all," said Hilifiger, the founder of his eponymous fashion empire, in a statement. "From start to finish, I have been inspired by this talented group of social entrepreneurs whose innovations are making the fashion landscape more sustainable and inclusive." Congratulating Apon Wellbeing and A Beautiful Mess, he added: "This is just the beginning for these start-ups and we will continue to mentor and foster these entrepreneurs who are so committed to making a positive impact in our industry."
The winners were whittled down from over 420 applicants. In Amsterdam this week, six finalists were asked to pitch their concepts to a prestigious jury panel including Hilfiger himself.