Imperial startup wins global award for sustainable fashion


Petit Pli's clothing that grows with children

Petit Pli, a material innovation and fashion technology startup founded by Imperial graduate Ryan Yasin, designs clothes that grow with children.

Petit Pli have been named as one of five 2019 H&M Foundation Global Change Award winners for their work using aerospace engineering to tackle waste and promote sustainability in the fashion industry. 

Growing with children

The team create clothes with a specially engineered fabric, which has a structure that allows it to expand bi-directionally. This means that a single garment is able to expand up to seven sizes – the number of sizes most children grow in their first two years of life. 

'Clothes that grow’ was designed to answer the needs of parents and children, retailers, manufacturers and the environment Ryan Mario Yasin Founder of Petit Pli

They hope to make the fashion industry more sustainable by reducing waste at production with fewer offcuts, through transportation by making fewer sizes, using recycled fabrics, keeping clothing in use for longer, and inspiring the next generation to rethink the value of clothes.

Petit Pli’s founder, Ryan Mario Yasin, studied Global Innovation Design, which is run jointly between Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering and the Royal College of Art. Prior to this, Ryan studied Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial where he focused his master’s thesis on deployable nano-satellites.

A child wearing Petit Pli's clothes that growTo create the clothing, Ryan adopted design principles focused on human needs and drew upon the knowledge he gained during his Imperial studies. Nano-satellites require carbon fibre panels to pack away into miniscule gaps before being released into outer space. The structure for Petit Pli’s clothing was devised using a similar structure, bringing together design methodologies with engineering.

Nobel Prize of fashion

The Global Change Award has been dubbed the ‘Nobel Prize of Fashion’ and Petit Pli was chosen from 6,640 entries from 182 countries. The team received their award during a Grand Ceremony in Stockholm, the home of H&M’s headquarters, and are the first ever UK-based winner of the award.

Petit Pli will use their €150,000 prize money to scale production, grow the team and push their research and development to investigate new markets and unaddressed human needs. As winners they will also receive accelerator support.

The Petit Pli team with their award
The Petit Pli team with their award

Founder Ryan Mario Yasin said: “Petit Pli has gone from concept to a fully-fledged seed-funded startup, with an incredible like-minded and dedicated team, 100 units tested by families worldwide and a brilliant manufacturing base. This is a really proud moment for the team, and an opportunity that will allow us to reach further faster than we would have by our own means.

A child jumping in a puddle“Petit Pli places absolute focus on macro and micro needs of humanity – how can we improve people’s lives while placing a strong consideration on the sustainable and ethical implications. ‘Clothes that grow’ was designed to answer the needs of parents and children, retailers, manufacturers and the environment by offering the opportunity to make the sustainable option more desirable – and able to be implemented today.”

Whilst he was a student on the Global Innovation Design course, Ryan won the James Dyson Award for Petit Pli, an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers.

Petit Pli’s rainproof, windproof outerwear suits are now available for pre-order.

Image credits: Petit Pli


Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications Division

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