Fashion Transformation
Five standout companies at Innovation Forum
At Global Fashion Summit, organisers gathered the fashion industry's most innovative solution providers, aiming to cover the whole value chain. Here are our top picks.
4 Jul 2024

The Global Fashion Summit is the foremost conference on sustainability within the fashion industry. Organised yearly in Copenhagen by the non-profit Global Fashion Agenda, it convenes the most important voices in fashion. In addition to panel talks and networking opportunities, Global Fashion Agenda presents the most innovative solution providers within the Innovation Forum.

— The Innovation Forum is part of the summit every year where we showcase a selection of some of the most promising solution providers that we have to the issues that are currently present in the industry. We do extensive research to provide opportunities for both more established solution providers that are more scalable and early-stage providers who want an entry into the industry, says Maria Samsøe-Schmidt, Programme Manager at Global Fashion Agenda.

The Innovation Forum aims to cover the whole value chain and its related issues. Hence, different companies have different focus areas. It also ranges from smaller start-ups to established, larger companies.

— We start from our fashion CEO agenda. Its five priorities — Operationalising Sustainability, Redefining Growth, Activating Consumers, Prioritising People, and Mobilising Based on Materiality — are priorities every fashion company must address, and we select based on these priorities. We ensure that we have innovation to cover the different priorities, which is our main guiding framework. Then we have a more elaborate vetting process.

In addition to being physically present at the GFS, the Innovation Forum continues year-round on the online platform, where brands can connect with solution providers to address their issues.

— We have a lot of different brands, retailers, and various sizes of companies coming to the summit, so we want a great selection for everybody. Additionally, we have the Global Fashion Agenda website where we showcase a larger selection of some of the innovators we’ve previously collaborated with at the summit, some new ones, and some who are purely on the Digital Innovation Forum site. This is a place where anyone interested in the solutions that can solve some of these issues can connect. We want to cover solutions across the whole value chain, so it’s important for us to ensure a variety of solutions that address different issues. This has been super valuable for all our stakeholders.

Here are five of the most innovative solution providers from different parts of the value chain:


Thamires Pontes founded Phycolabs while completing her Master’s studies. During her research, she discovered seaweed as a sustainable textile fibre.

— With its status as the fastest-growing organism on Earth and its ability to thrive without arable land or pesticides, along with its capacity to absorb greenhouse gases, the promise of seaweed as a sustainable textile material was undeniable, Pontes explains.

Based in and coming from Brazil, Pontes has an extensive coastline from which to source the seaweed, collaborate with local communities, and create economic opportunities. Developing the product in the lab has been the first challenge; the next step will be to scale it into a sustainable fibre scale.

— Our immediate focus is finalising the development of the seaweed fibre, ensuring consistent high quality for large-scale production. We call it ‘Phycofiber.’ Once Phycofiber is ready, we’ll distribute it to our existing fashion brand partners for testing and integration into their collections. Dressing the world with seaweed style. Building a dedicated lab facility in Brazil is a cornerstone of our long-term vision. This will significantly boost our innovation and large-scale production capabilities.


Syre translates to oxygen in Swedish; it’s also a play on the words sy — Swedish for sewing — and re — the Latin word indicating repetition. It’s easy to understand its origin, as Syre was born out of the need for circular materials at scale.

Founded by H&M Group and Vargas—two power players in textiles and scaling green transitions—Syre aims to be a major provider of recycled textiles. The company has started focusing on polyester. H&M Group has secured a take-or-pay offtake agreement with Syre worth USD 600 million over seven years, covering more than half of H&M Group’s long-term need for recycled polyester.

— Within ten years, we aspire to have 12 gigascale plants up and running at full speed and capacity worldwide, producing more than 3 million metric tons (MT) of circular polyester, says Emma Stjernlöf, Chief Communications & People Officer at Syre.


A big issue in sustainability is logistics and packaging. The use of single-use packaging is growing exponentially and has reached an annual dispatch of 161 billion parcels. This is something the Finnish company RePack is trying to combat. Instead of the usual corrugated cardboard boxes, RePack utilises sturdy, recycled polybags that can be used repeatedly.

RePack was recently acquired by oceansix, a leader in sustainable solutions and waste-to-product innovations. RePack has also been chosen to participate in the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator program.

Seaman Paper

Another issue in logistics is the use of single-use plastics. Think of the plastic bag your garment comes in when you order something online. Seaman Paper has addressed this issue with its product Vela™. Their bags, instead of being made of plastic, are made of paper but still have the same protective properties as their plastic counterparts. They are completely recyclable and FSC®-certified.

Reverse Resources

One vital factor in transforming fashion and clothing is closing the loop and making the industry circular. This includes the recycling of textiles and the need for textile waste that can be recycled. Reverse Resources is a software-as-a-service platform that digitizes textile waste flows and supply chains, enabling predictive transparency and fostering real-time collaboration among industry stakeholders. Reverse Resources helps companies efficiently enhance their waste management models by matching textile waste with the optimal recycling solutions. 

In the short-term, Reverse Resources are focusing on expanding operations in Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, concentrating on post-industrial textile waste, particularly 100% cotton, polyester, and polyester-cotton blends. Efforts will include tracking existing textile waste flows to enhance transparency and traceability of supply chains, even without immediate textile-to-textile (T2T) recycling solutions. In the long-term, the goal is to increase global presence and tackle post-consumer textile waste, tracing complex waste compositions as innovative recyclers establish plants in strategic locations.