Fashion industry is arguably one of the major polluting industries in the world. At the same time, it is still one of the main industries in Portugal, representing 15.000M € in turnover and 11,5% in export.

The production and distribution garments used in fashion contributes to different forms of environmental pollution, including water, air, and soil. Some of the enormous numbers of this industry involve are: 1,5 trillion litters of water used in this industry every year, to 190.000 tons of textile microplastics fibers that end up in the oceans every year. Besides the impact on environment, there are also deep challenges when it comes to labor rights, for example 96 hours per week is the normal working week for a garment worker in developing countries.

At the same time, while facing immense challenges, sustainability and transparency in manufacturing and processing of textiles has evolved to a transformative feature in business that has launched companies to success and gained the appraisal of consumers. Due to it’s textile know-how and existing assests, Portugal has unparalleled possibilities to drive this movement and generate innovation that harvests the untapped value in fashion sustainability.

"Working with FT Innovation alowed us to organize, for the first time, a fashion hackathon in Portugal. It was the best way to bring different stakeholders together and start innovating new business ideas for sustainability lead fashion in Portugal. And we had a great time doing it!"

— Eduarda Abbondanza - Founder Moda Lisboa

Moda Lisboa reached out to FT Innovation to help increase sustainability awareness in the fashion industry, promote dialogue around the main areas of action and increase cooperation between stakeholders. The result was a two-day fashion hackathon that took place during the Moda Lisboa event, Awake edition in March 2020.

After the two days the participants co-created three high-impact projects to address sustainability in fashion, namely: a) a complete program from regional development based on tacit knowledge from textile industry and textile heritage, b) a pedagogic game about consumption to be used in schools aiming to foster consumption awareness from an early age and c) an innovative business idea with the aim to reduce production-to-consumption value-chain, by connecting local tailors with customers through an app.

This sprint process was especially designed for this two-day event, and it used parts of Design Thinking, Circular Design, Ideation and Backcasting.

The process started with a strong focus on team building, since the participants did not know each other, followed by a deep discussion on the terms and concepts related to the fashion sustainability challenges. Once the terms were clear for the group, it was time to identify best-practices and inspirational examples. With these, the participants organized themselves in groups following the themes: production, consumption, patrimony and technology, and started painstorming on challenges. The identified pains where then converted into triggers for brainstorming solutions. Finally, a backasting exercise helped the participants to crystalize an action plan with next steps.

The hackathon was run with twelve of the most relevant talents in fashion in Portugal, namely: Diogo Morais Oliveira (Copyright Law), Rita Cortes Valente (Ethical Designer), Ana Costa (Catalyst), Vanda Jorge (Ecoolhunter By Jornal ECO), Pedro Noronha Feio (Os Capelistas Design Studio), António Vasconcelos (Planetiers + The Natural Step), João Meneses (BCSD Portugal), Sandra Dias (Terramoto) , Joana Lacerda (Power House Group + OFundamentO), Patrícia Domingues (PR Fashion and Beauty Account), Inês Veiga (Investigadora + Social Designer) and Lívia Pinent (Fashion Designer).

"Loved to work with Fernanda Torre! She has deep knowledge in innovation, facilitation and design! And a great energy to motivate people and get things done! We could not have done such a successful hackathon without her!"

— Graziela Sousa - Project Manager, Moda Lisboa

This was the first fashion hackathon in Portugal, FTInnovation designed the unique process and facilitated the sprint, guaranteeing alignment and consistency thorough the process.

FT Innovation has unique capabilities that allows the facilitation between business, design and sustainability, being able to translate the different stakeholder’s interests into one coherent process.

ModaLisboa has the mission to promote and develop the Fashion Industry in Portugal and the national creative capital.

The ModaLisboa Association was created in 1991 to organize what would be the Europe’s first independent fashion week and the most nationally recognized fashion event. The fashion hackathon was run under the umbrella of Checkpoint which is coordinated by the fashion designer Graziela Sousa.