Fabric of Change: Innovating for a Sustainable Apparel Industry - About

About the Fabric of Change Network

The global apparel industry is an important driver of economic growth employing 60 million workers, of whom more than 75% are women.

However, an apparel industry line worker in Bangladesh earns only between USD $68 and $234 per month. Often a job is not enough.

The apparel industry is the second-most polluting industry worldwide.

The cotton industry represents 10% of the world’s pesticide usage.

Fabric of Change re-envisions a fair, sustainable apparel industry and a future in which all stakeholders are empowered to ensure that people and the planet are respected.

Social innovators tackle complex challenges and change patterns across society through tireless dedication and bold innovation to rethink problems and solutions.

This three year initiative focuses on the following key areas:

  • Deep dive research into the roadblocks to industry wide change, revealing 4 key design principles for transformation
  • Crowdsourcing new solutions to industry challenges
  • Selecting and supporting leading social innovators
  • Accelerating the adoption of their solutions
  • Spotting and sharing key insights emerging from these social innovators

Deep-Dive Research: Social Innovation Mapping

This deep-dive report, or "Social Innovation Mapping," is rooted in the perspectives of Ashoka Fellows, with additional insight from apparel industry experts, and reveals common patterns in the methods used by social entrepreneurs to create widespread change. Download the report to uncover these groundbreaking patterns—barriers and design principles for designing solutions that unlock system level change.

  • Barriers are the actionable components of a complex problem that social entrepreneurs target, fix, or transform to achieve maximum impact;
  • Design Principles are strategies for designing solutions that unlock system-wide change

Crowdsource New Solutions: Challenge

In September 2015, we launched an open call for innovations building a fair and sustainable apparel industry that respects people and planet, seeking to spotlight and support fresh approaches to transforming the fashion industry. Over 300 innovators from 55 countries entered their ideas, with three extraordinary initiatives receiving the winning prize of cash funding totalling €100,000 and industry-wide recognition and support. Watch the winners’ video to learn more about our challenge champions.

Accelerate Solutions: Ashoka Globalizer

In May 2017, Fabric of Change leveraged the Ashoka global reach, selection process and network of social and business entrepreneurs to hand select leading apparel-industry innovators ready to scale their solutions. Through a tailored accelerator process we will connect innovators ready for global scale with strategic through partners and industry experts to help rapidly spread their innovations and empower new communities within the value chain.

About Ashoka

Ashoka's vision is an "Everyone is a Changemaker" society. Founded in 1980 by Bill Drayton, Ashoka is the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs, with more than 3,300 Fellows in 90 countries. Ashoka builds and activates networks of individuals and organizations to support them in addressing the world’s biggest challenges and fostering collaborations for greater effectiveness and results. Along with business entrepreneurs, policymakers, investors, academics and journalists, Ashoka is working to ensure that social entrepreneurs and their innovations continue to inspire a new generation of changemakers.

About C&A Foundation

C&A Foundation is a private foundation affiliated with the global clothing retailer C&A. Through financial support, sharing expertise and providing access to a network of specialists, C&A Foundation strengthens platforms, NGOs and other changemakers so that they can transform the apparel industry and make fashion a force of good. In all the countries C&A touches, C&A Foundation wants to make fashion improve the lives of men and women behind the clothes by focusing on 4 areas: accelerating sustainable cotton, improving working conditions, strengthening communities and eradicating forced labour.


Our Network Partners

Partners are crucial in enabling the impact of social innovators—alone, no single entity can solve the apparel industry’s most pressing problems. We hope to inspire all actors—including government agencies, businesses, nonprofits, consumers, aspiring social innovators, and others—to think big, connect, and collaborate. The following sector partners provide a snapshot of our global network. If you are interested in partnering with the Fabric of Change Initiative, please contact [email protected].