SOFFA - TheEU Social & Sustainable Fashion Factory

SOFFA - TheEU Social & Sustainable Fashion Factory: producing @no one's expense, break the chain stop trafficking now stop polluting

Athens, GreeceAthens, Greece
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

SOFFA is the Social and Sustainable Factory of Europe for clothing, footwear & accessories with open source online & offline sustainable textile marketplace providing work integration for victims of trafficking & incubation to fashion entrepreneurs building on research and innovation

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we ‘Produced @no one’s expense’. Broke the Chain in the fashion industry by Ending Human Trafficking Now by Ceasing Polluting the Environment by Bringing Production back to Europe where the industrialist would be hubs of fashion entrepreneurs
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The fashion industry is the world's second-largest polluter, behind oil. 30m people are trapped into trafficking; many of them are enslaved in fashion. European Production flew to the cheap labor countries leaving behind high rates of unemployment. New Designers are artisans struggling to survive: high costs, isolated, small scales, often very innovative. High Youth Unemployment, in Greece is 60%; face risks of dying earlier & mental illnesses

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

3 interconnected tiers based on a social cooperative ownership model. SOFFA Factory an automated production line for clothing, footwear n accessories targeting the repatriation of production in Europe; SOFFA Textile, an open source online and offline sustainable textile marketplace fighting for the protection of the environment; SOFFA Hub an online n’ offline incubator of young fashion entrepreneurs battling against youth unemployment; SOFFA in the war against trafficking provides work integration to survivals victims of trafficking. SOFFA enhances economic and social equality in urban cities its premises are situated in areas of crises. SOFFA Replication Strategy to scale social impact through social franchising in other industries & areas


Got Sponsorship as an ALPHA Team at The Web Summit 2015 in Dublin 1-5/11/2015. Selected to present at the Break The Chain Festival Against Trafficking of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affaires 28-29/10/2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

New Product Development. We launch the rebirth of ‘Zita Hellas’ sustainable snickers label targeting Greece, Cyprus and the Balkan region. Zita Hellas began production in the 30s in Greece. Was the peripheral leader in the Balkan region in sportswear from the 70s till early 90s. All production was centralized in our automated factory in Athens. Zita Hellas label withdrew from the market in 1996 all production moved to Asia. This Christmas 2015 Soffa Hub launches a ‘Public Global Sustainable Design Competition’ for Zita Hellas through social media. Soffa Textile finds the sustainable materials. Soffa Factory recruits, trains and produces using as labour women victims of trafficking from protected camps n refugee camps.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Protecting the Environment our goal is to achieve 90% production from sustainable & recyclable materials in the next 5 years in our premises. Repatriating Production in Europe/ Creating Job Positions in Europe; raising European GDP n taxation fighting unemployment n loss of traditional industry techniques. War against Trafficking create mass job positions for victims of trafficking; reinvesting profits in employing n’ training survivals victims of trafficking and keeping them away from slavery as they move out of the host countries. Battling Youth Unemployment; reinvesting its profits in incubating unemployed young fashion talents and creating competitive hubs of creativity that will stand alone successfully within the EU and world markets. Premises are situated in a semi abandoned derelict building which partially serves as the local high school in a deprived neighborhood in Athens

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Social Governance; Our goal is to test, develop and promote a culture of social entrepreneurship factories based on the co-sharing of both activities n’ ownership. SOFFA is expected to be a best practice. Then scaling of impact through the social franchise model in new geographical areas n’ other industries. Our second project already in development is to create a Social Wood Factory; thus testing the model. We have been offered the premises and the machinery we need to find the wood lovers (producers, artists, architects, designers) to be incubated based on the governance model of SOFFA.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Trading activities for selling products;New Product: Label ‘Zita Hellas'; selling sustainable textiles online & offline; returns from Trading activities of incubated designers n entrepreneurs.Sustainable Consulting services offered to labels.Seminars, workshops, events, film screenings, exhibitions.Sustainable sourcing management services.Licensing (Social franchising) of the model.EU & National Grants. Foundations &CSR of Big Organizations.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Online textile marketplaces Direct Competitors. They are Not offering Production: C.L.A.S.S (US);LE SOUK (US);The Sustainable Angle (UK);OFFSET WAREHOUSE (UK);INTERLOOM(GER);LEBENKLEIDUNG (GER). Production from sustainable materials. They are Not offering sustainable production:Asian factories (unethical working conditions); Small scale artisans in developed economies they are sustainable socially n environmentally but not economically; NGOs small scale artisan production in Latin America n Asia they do a good work but we want to address unemployment in Europe, we want to create job position

Founding Story

Fiori returned to Greece to spread the social entrepreneurship culture n establishes The Nest Incubator. In a startup event @Impact Hub she meets Natasha who was presenting her ethical brand. Natasha is appointed Country Coordinator of the global movement of Fashion Revolution in Greece and invites her to become the Academic Advisor. Around the FashRev movement like-minded professionals are gathered forming a network of friends. So SOFFA is born by a group of young talented entrepreneurs in their mid-30s who returned to their country in turbulent times and came together to share their complementary skills and experiences under their common vision to break the chain in the fashion industry


Dr Fiori Zafeiropoulou CEO Also Founder  The Nest Social Coop Incubator; Founder Zita Social Ltd UK (est. 2003); Minority Equity Stake Zita Group Ltd Gr. Past start-up CEO for Neobeauty Cosmetics. Expert in Sectorial incubators. Board Member of the global movement  Fashion Revolution in Greece. Visiting Lecturer Social Entrepreneurship @Athens University of Economics & Business. Cand Post-Doc Social Investment Market, PHD Social Entrepreneurship, MBA, BSc (Ec). Vaggelis Banias CFO Certified financial executive (B.Sc., M.Sc., Dipl. ACCA) with thorough experience in market analysis, financial planning, corporate governance, accounting and tax strategies. He is also social entrepreneur and co-founder of Befriend and Offer Natasha Athanasiadou Head of Sustainable Sourcing and Development Also Founder & CEO Generation Generous Ethical Label HQ London. The Country Coordinator of the global movement Fashion Revolution in Greece. MPhil Cambridge University; BSc, Diploma in Accessories Design and Merchandising in NABA Milano & London School of Fashion. Worked in fashion industry. Expertise sustainable fabric development and worldwide sourcing Fiori P Zafeiropoulou Head of Design. She is also Founder & CEO Grace Atelier De Luxe Designer n Fashion Entrepreneur bags, bridal gowns, eveningwear, jewelry & accessories  having a workshop, a gallery and a design studio BSc in Industrial Production & Engineering. Fashion Design & Footwear London College of Fashion. Nicholaos Moustakas. Head of Footwear Production. Footwear designer and Maker with with extensive knowledge in the footwear industry. BA Product and Furniture Design and Diploma in Footwear Design Cordwainers College. Currently working as a bespoke shoe maker in the West End of London. Georgina Kostara Head of Sales & Clothing Production. Past Founder & CEO Clothing Manufacturing Unit with International Wholesales. Past founder of Retail Fashion Store & e-shop. BA Product Development London College of Fashion & Styling St Martins Sotiris Tassiopoulos Sports/Casual Footwear Designer. Footwear design and development diploma (EL.KE.DE).Head designer for Caan sports company(F/W 2011).Head designer and founder of Danza Muerte dancing shoes.12 time finalist at kicksguide shoe design contest.2nd place at Song Seung Heon international shoe design contest. Stratis Camatsos Head of Investment & Fund Raising. Certified Lawyer in New York City and years of experience in Brussels on European law. Is a 3 times Award Winner Social Entrepreneur EVO3 Olive Oil- Plant A Tree for Every Bottle Leonidas Skerletopoulos Programme Designer & Coach.  Certified Coach, Marketer. Co-founder The Nest Social Coop Head of North of Greece. Special Advisor at Evros Chamber of Commerce on Incubators and Entrepreneurship. Member of Co-ordinators at International Social Marketing Association. Co-Founder UpLo Urban Initiative.  BSc Communications, PgDMS, MBA (Marketing) John Foundis Head of Digital Marketing Fashion & Luxury Oriented Digital Marketing Expert. Founder of (2011), ,  #DFBI Athens and member of the Fashion Revolution in Greece. Global PR & Marketer manager of the jewelry brand NOILENCE. Digital Marketing partner at H&M Greece & P&G (2014). Lila Michalatou Incubation Coordinator & Community Creator Εxperience in E-learning programs. Scholarship in MBA International at Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Founder ‘Stylescent’ online fashion community
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]


Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Factory Owner.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Designers, Factory Workers, Retailers - Specialty Store, Retailers - Mass-merchandise Chain, Supplier - contractor, Women, Youth.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Accountability, Conscious Consumerism, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Anti-forced Labor or Anti-Human Trafficking, Recycling or Circular Economy, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Capacity Building, Certification, Technology.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

SOFFA HUB & incubation; Fashion Revolution NGO; other incubaros; Conferences, media & startup events; lecturing universities

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

We are a cooperative of designers, social entrepreneurs and professionals that have joint forces under the same umbrella of SOFF