A sustainable fashion initiative developed by two Imperial graduates has won the Mayor of London's Low Carbon Entrepreneur Prize.
Caroline Wood and Vivian Tang (both MSc Chemistry 2014), took home the £20,000 seed-funding prize for Clotho – an online clothing exchange service which aims to reduce the amount of clothing waste in landfills by encouraging young people to swap unwanted clothes with others rather than throwing them away and buying new.
The competition, which is sponsored by Siemens, challenges students to come up with innovative ideas to cut the capital's energy use and carbon emissions.
The pair developed their idea while on holiday after completing their undergraduate studies in the Department of Chemistry last year. Caroline Wood said: “As we were getting ready for dinner one evening, Vivien tried on a dress of mine that I hadn't ever worn because I wasn't sure it suited me - and she instantly loved it. It looked fantastic on her so I said she could have it – much better than it sitting unworn at the back of my wardrobe!”
“We thought that there must be many other people with clothes hidden away in wardrobes like this – and so the idea for Clotho was born.”
I’m sure our young entrepreneurs will go on to play an important part in fostering jobs and growth in the capital’s burgeoning green economy for many years to come
– Boris Johnson
Mayor of London
The pair were announced as the winners by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson at a ceremony at City Hall last week, after pitching their idea to a dragon's-den style to a panel of expert judges including award-winning solo yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur, newsreader Charlene White, and Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Smoothies.
Caroline added: “The competition has been an amazing experience. The prospect of pitching was nerve-wracking to begin with but in the end we both had so much fun.
"We are delighted to have won and are really looking forward to growing and developing Clotho over the coming months with the help of the prize money.”
Speaking before the final, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Today’s ideas could go on to become the wind turbines or energy saving lightbulb of tomorrow, and I’m sure our young entrepreneurs will go on to play an important part in fostering jobs and growth in the capital’s burgeoning green economy for many years to come.”
Caroline and Vivien were not the only members of the Imperial community to be shortlisted in this years contest. Student Lucas Kruitwagen (Mechanical Engineering), also reached the final along with fellow team members Michael Kenfick and Simon Madsen for their ideaOpenwatt – a device to reduce electricity being used by large appliances when there is pressure on the national grid.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons license.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.
Leave a comment
Your comment may be published, displaying your name as you provide it, unless you request otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.