Cycle one Joe Fresh innovators wrap up program
Cycle one of the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation at Ryerson University has come to an end. Following an 18-month program, the first “class” of five Joe Fresh Innovators will make way for a new cohort.
"It has been wonderful to watch the first cycle of companies grow and see how the Ryerson and Joe Fresh partnership has added innovation to the fashion landscape," says Charles Falzon, Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University, in a news statement.
The $1 million program announced in March 2015 develops and funds emerging Canadian fashion-inspired businesses through the Fashion Zone at Ryerson University.
During the 18-month acceleration program and competition, cycle one innovators – Klothed, Wear Your Label, Formen, StyleID and Blanc de Noir – participated in three pitch demos evaluated by Ryerson judges and Joe Fresh executives, as well as received a dedicated working area, mentorship and networking opportunities. Furthermore, collectively cycle one Innovators received $50,000 in funding.
"Over the last 18 months, we received invaluable input from Centre staff and mentors, the other companies in the Centre, and our retail partners. This helped take Klothed from concept to completion of a full-scale technology platform for omnichannel apparel retailers," says Barry Fogarty, Co-founder and CEO of Klothed.
The Joe Fresh Centre plans to incubate up to 21 new fashion-inspired businesses. In December, the incubator accepted three new Canadian startups as part of its third wave: idebuy, a technology platform that enables fashion and lifestyle brands to discover influencers, automate promotional campaigns and measure marketing campaigns; Adrenalease Inc., an apparel company that engineers Posture Performance Apparel; and Nudy Patooty, another apparel company that produces transformative undergarments for getting rid of sweat before it stains or damages clothes. Meanwhile, submissions for the next wave are currently being reviewed.
At a time where it’s difficult for any fashion business to survive let alone a start-up, the race to join the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation at Ryerson University is fierce. Toronto is also home to other incubator programs such as the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI).
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