Five finalists go through to the last stage of Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge

The annual prize supports diversity and inclusivity within fashion

Tommy Hilfiger and Halima Aden will sit on the contest's judging panel. Getty
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Tommy Hilfiger has named the five finalists of his Fashion Frontier Challenge.

Each year the initiative invites entrepreneurs and start-ups to submit ideas designed to have an impact the lives of everyday people.

The companies are set specific tasks to test business agility, ability to scale and long-term social impact.

As part of the current competition, the final final five companies were chosen from more than 250 start-ups from around the world.

Members of the five start-ups that are going into the final of the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge. Photo: Tommy Hilfiger

The purpose of the Fashion Frontier Challenge, which was founded in 2018 by US designer Tommy Hilfiger, is to support those traditionally overlooked or under-represented within the fashion industry.

Its aim is to help break down traditional boundaries within the industry by highlighting and supporting innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs from marginalised backgrounds. The challenge seeks to promote new ideas, inclusivity and sustainability.

“As we move into the fourth edition of the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge, we know that there is still more work to be done to achieve diverse representation and inclusion in fashion,” said Hilfiger.

"We’re committed to using our platform to give emerging talent a voice so the industry as a whole can evolve how we think, build and create.”

The first of the five finalists is Bangladeshi company Moner Bondhu, which provides accessible mental health support to garment workers, women and children. It offers a range of wellness services including professional counselling, workshops, training and a weekly radio show.

Then there's IDA Sports from the UK, which designed a range of sports shoes and cleats for women after finding that most sports equipment is designed for men first and then scaled down in size and weight for female athletes.

The result of IDA Sports' products is increased performance, a better fit and, most importantly, fewer injuries.

Koalaa, another British start-up, also made the final five. It engineers prosthetic upper limbs for all ages that are designed to be affordable.

The company hopes to allow more people access to well-fitting prosthetics, while its range of toy-inspired limbs have been made to help children adjust. In addition, it is using its network to build a peer support community.

Care+Wear, meanwhile, is a start-up from New York that makes dedicated clothing for hospital patients. Designed to be both adaptive and accessible, the collection of gowns, tops, scrubs and recovery bras are designed to give patients a sense of humanity and dignity by allowing easy access for hospital treatment, removing the need to undress.

And finally, there's Tactus, a Dutch-American tech company that designs smart clothing for deaf people. Its garments can translate music into vibrations the wearer can feel.

On February 9, the finalists will present their ideas to a panel of judges, which includes Hilfiger, model turned activist Halima Aden, managing director of Fashion for Good Katrin Ley and professor of entrepreneurship at INSEAD business school Adrian Johnson.

Tommy Hilfiger with his wife, Dee Ocleppo. AFP

There will be two winners, who will each recieve a $100,000 cash grant, plus a year-long mentorship with Hilfiger and INSEAD experts, as well as a place on a course at the business school. The entrepreneur who comes third winner will receive $15,000 towards their business.

Updated: January 05, 2023, 3:32 PM
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