From 28 March to 1 April 2022, Innovate UK KTN travels to India to focus on potential markets for collaboration in Sustainable Fashion.

In the UK, we buy more clothes per capita than any country in Europe. Around 300,000 tonnes of used clothes are burned or buried in landfill each year; much of this waste is retailers or manufacturers disposing of brand new, unsold stock in the most ‘cost-effective’ way. However, the fashion sector in the UK is beginning to address some of its major issues, with both large companies (such as ASOS, valued at USD $12bn) phasing in ethical and environmentally responsible collections, and start-ups/social enterprises developing equally innovative disruptive solutions.

The garment industry in India is predicted to be worth USD $59bn in 2022, making it the sixth-largest in the world. However, India’s reputation for low-cost production is at odds with its past. The country has a rich history of beautiful garments such as the sari, the ghagra choli, and dhoti, and since the economic liberation of the Indian economy in 1990, designers have emerged with products that have been successful on the world stage. Many Indian brands are now working to change the fast fashion narrative, focusing on organic, fair-trade and vegan products and exploring new and innovative ways of reusing products or waste materials. Addressing sustainability challenges in the fashion industry requires a global dialogue on how to encourage long-term transformations.

The team are looking forward to expanding international collaborations and will report back next month! Follow us on Twitter @KTN_Global and #sustainablefashion.

About Global Expert Missions

The Global Expert Missions (GEM) programme is funded by Innovate UK to support the Industrial Strategy’s ambition for the UK to be the international partner of choice for science and innovation. Led by Innovate UK KTN, GEMs play an important role in building strategic partnerships, providing deep insight into the opportunities for UK innovation and shaping future bilateral collaboration programmes.

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