by Stephen Garner

Tommy Hilfiger has announced Apon Wellbeing and A Beautiful Mess as winners of the 2019 Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge. More than 400 applications were received for the second edition of the global program, which aims to support entrepreneurial start-up and scale-up stage businesses developing solutions that promote inclusive and positive change in fashion.

“At Tommy Hilfiger, we’re committed to wasting nothing and welcoming all. From start to finish, I have been inspired by this talented group of social entrepreneurs whose innovations are making the fashion landscape more sustainable and inclusive,” said Mr. Hilfiger. “I am proud to congratulate this year’s winners, Apon Wellbeing and A Beautiful Mess. This is just the beginning for these start-ups and we will continue to mentor and foster these entrepreneurs who are so committed to making a positive impact in our industry.”

“The winners of the second Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge represent the future of the fashion industry,” added Daniel Grieder, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe. “As our industry continues to rapidly evolve, it is important to collaborate, both within and outside of the fashion landscape, and bring forward innovations that have the ability to transform our businesses for the better. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists!”

Apon Wellbeing was awarded €75,000. The Bangladesh-based scale-up opens fair-priced shops carrying daily necessities inside factories, with products offered at a 10 percent discount to external prices and a points scheme that workers collect for free health insurance and health services.

Dutch start-up, A Beautiful Mess, was also awarded €75,000. A Beautiful Mess runs a creative space to assist refugees in realizing social and economic independence by creating sustainable apparel products.

The winners also received a year-long mentorship with Tommy Hilfiger’s and INSEAD’s global experts, as well as a place in the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program (ISEP).

A third start-up, Sudara, was selected as the “Audience Favorite Vote” and was awarded €10,000. Based in India and the United States, Sudara is a scale-up pajama and loungewear company that develops professional and sewing skills in women who have escaped from or are at high risk of being sex trafficked.

Over a multi-step, multi-month process that began in May 2019, over 420 applicants were narrowed down to six finalists who were invited to develop and refine their business plans with the support of a dedicated team of social entrepreneur experts. During the program’s Final Event, which took place at Tommy Hilfiger’s Campus of the Future in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on February 13, 2020, the six finalists pitched their concepts to a prestigious jury panel.