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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Press release17 January 2020Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs1 min read

Launch of the 2020 European Social Innovation Competition, 'Reimagine Fashion: Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion'


The 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. 30 selected projects will receive training and coaching to bring their business idea to the next level. In the autumn, a jury will select three winning ideas, each of which will receive an award of €50,000.

The aim of this edition of the competition is to improve the environmental and social impact of fashion. EU citizens buy on average more than 12kg of clothing yearly, the production of which contributes 195 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere and uses 46 billion m3 of water. Clothing accounts for between 2% and 10% of the environmental impact of overall EU consumption. At the same time, more than 30% of clothes in Europeans' wardrobes have not been used for at least a year. Once discarded, over half the garments are not recycled, but end up in mixed household waste and are subsequently sent to incinerators or landfill.

To address these issues, this year’s competition is looking for ideas that contribute to improving the sustainable production, use and consumption of fashion as well as the end-of-life stage of fashion products. The competition is open to all with innovative and creative ideas, including social innovators, entrepreneurs, students, designers, businesses and other doers, makers and change creators.

Applications are open until Wednesday 4 March at noon (CET). For full details visit the European Social Innovation Competition website or our page on the competition.


Launched in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all EU and Horizon 2020 associated countries. Now in its eighth year, the competition acts as a beacon for social innovators in Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping society for the better. Each year the competition addresses a different issue facing Europe.