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Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge Winners: Lalaland and Uzuri K&Y

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Tommy Hilfiger, which is owned by PVH Corp., has revealed that Lalaland and Uzuri K&Y are the winners of the third Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge, a dedicated global program designed to find and support ideas that led to a more inclusive fashion landscape.

The program’s first virtual event, where the six finalists pitched their concepts to a jury panel, took place on Jan. 12 and 13. The winners will share a prize fund of 200,000 euros and receive a yearlong mentorship with internal experts from Tommy Hilfiger and INSEAD, one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools. They also secured a place in an INSEAD program that brings people, cultures and ideas together to cultivate innovative leaders.

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More than 430 start-ups and scaleups from 22 countries submitted their ideas in January 2021 for this initiative. This year’s program strived to amplify and support entrepreneurs of color who are working to advance their communities, while fostering a more inclusive future for the fashion industry.

For the first time, fans of the Tommy Hilfiger brand were able to participate in the initial phases of the challenge, where they cast their digital vote to help narrow down the applications to identify the finalists. Alongside Hilfiger associates at the final event, they were also invited to vote for their favorite pitch to award an additional 15,000 euros to one of the finalists.

“This empowering challenge brought together passionate and hard-working individuals with fresh ideas on how to create a future of fashion we can all look forward to,” Hilfiger said. “It was an impressive final event, and I am proud to continue this journey with the entrepreneurs who presented groundbreaking and impactful solutions that challenge how we think, build and create.”

Lalaland, a Netherlands-based platform that uses artificial intelligence to generate customized and inclusive synthetic models of different ethnicities, was awarded 100,000 euros. “Creating technology that drives a more inclusive and diverse e-commerce platform is at the heart of our vision at Lalaland,” said Michael Musandu, cofounder and chief executive officer of Lalaland. “Being part of the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge brought incredible insights and will elevate our AI solution to reach more people than we could have imagined. Through donning this achievement, our team cannot wait to empower a welcoming online shopping experience, so no consumer feels under-represented.”

Uzuri K&Y, a Rwandan-based eco-friendly shoe brand that uses recycled car tires from sub-Saharan Africa and employs local youth, was also awarded 100,000 euros. “We are honored to be named a winner of the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge,” said Kevine Kagirimpundu, cofounder and CEO of Uzuri K&Y. “This opportunity has provided mentorship, strategic guidance, and given us a platform to share our dream of bringing sustainable footwear options from Africa to the global market. We are dedicated to drive real impact and inspire the youth of today to craft a cleaner future.”

Clothes to Good, a South African-based social enterprise that creates micro-business opportunities and jobs for people with disabilities through textile recycling, was awarded 15,000 euros for the Audience Favorite Award. “We felt blessed to be recognized by the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge viewers, it’s an experience we will never forget,” said Tammy Greyling, operations director and occupational therapist at Clothes to Good. “It’s humbling to know others believe in our dream to really make a difference for people with disabilities and their families. Receiving this award will empower Clothes to Good to continue creating micro-business and job opportunities through textile recycling from the South African community.”

The jurors were Hilfiger; Martijn Hagman, chief executive officer, Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe; Yara Shahidi, award-winning actress, producer and change agent; Esther Verburg, executive vice president, sustainable business and innovation, Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe; Adrian Johnson, entrepreneur, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, theology and media at INSEAD; Katrin Levy, managing director of Fashion for Good and founding curator of the Amsterdam Global Shapers Hub; and Yvonne Bagela, founding member and principal at investment firm Impact X Capital.

Applications for the fourth installment of the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge will open in March. Information can be obtained at https://platform.younoodle.com/competition/thffc–2022.

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