Farfetch accelerator has sustainability focus for 2019, adds Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney is joining Farfetch’s Dream Assembly technology accelerator programme with Burberry also continuing its links after taking part last year.
And the second year of the programme sees the luxury e-tailer seeking applications from start-ups which are still at the seed stage of their development and have a strong social or environmental focus.
The company’s chief strategy officer Stephanie Phair, said that applicants don’t have to have any fashion links at present but do need to have tech concepts that could be applied to the fashion sector if developed further.
As with the inaugural programme, the process to select the final participants will include workshops and one-to-one sessions with experts from both Farfetch and the partner companies, and mentor sessions covering subjects such as e-tail and logistics.
At the end of that, those chosen to go on to the next stage will be able to pitch to a specially-assembled panel of external investors for the funding to take their ideas further. And as part of Dream Assembly, startups will receive €30,000 in a convertible note from Farfetch to help cover operating costs and expenses.
Phair said the decision to look specifically at sustainability this year came after 2018’s cohort were focused on “the circular economy and secondary market.”
The high profile of Farfetch and its partners means the company attracts applications for its accelerator from all over the world. Last year it selected 11 of them from nine different countries. They included France’s Shopvious, which provides blockchain-based digital certificates; Nigeria’s Fashpa that connects consumers with brands and boutiques selling sustainable merchandise; Canada’s Footsy, a mobile app that offers personalised footwear; Hong Kong’s pre-owned luxe bag specialist Upteam: and Netherlands-based Auverture that sources fine jewellery from artists and artisans.
The two industry partners are well chosen and are names that will resonate particularly given the sustainability theme this year. McCartney is well known for her support of eco issues and Burberry was last year named as the leading luxury fashion brand in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, despite negative publicity around its (now changed) strategy for destroying unsold product.
Applications are open now at dreamassembly.com and close on March 3.
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