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Bloom Labs Picks Up Global Fashion Agenda’s First-Ever Trailblazer Award



Innovation startup Bloom Labs has won the Global Fashion Agenda’s inaugural Trailblazer Programme award. 

The Trailblazer Programme—a talent search awarding the winner with up to $200,000 in cash, plus commercial and operational backing from Positive Materials—was created this year to support early-stage innovators accelerating sustainable change within the industry. Presented by GFA and PDS Ventures at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen this week, Bloom Labs will receive this significant equity investment and support to bring its next-gen alternatives to natural and synthetic fibers to market. 

“Receiving the Trailblazer Award is an incredible achievement for Bloom Labs, the recognition validates our efforts and commitment to creating a positive environmental impact in the fashion industry,” Simardev Gulati, co-founder and CEO of Bloom Labs, said. “Being recognized at the prestigious Global Fashion Summit places Bloom Labs on an international stage. The visibility allows us to showcase our innovations to key industry stakeholders, potential investors and partners.” 

Bloom Labs was recognized as the winner for its “pioneering breakthrough” in material science. It harnesses the value of natural waste by-products to create alternatives to textile and plastic materials. 

“The support from PDS Ventures and [its] Positive Materials platform, giving us access to a vast global supply chain and strategic partners will be crucial for refining our processes and taking sustainable innovation to the next level,” Gulati said. “Collaboration throughout the value chain is a key component to success for any material innovation; the Trailblazer program uniquely puts us in a position to create lasting, meaningful change.” 

The New York-based startup uses bio-manufacturing, advanced protein engineering and molecular biology for its proprietary technology that plasticizes waste, regenerating it into “practical” pellets. Those pellets are then spun into fibers meant to mimic the properties of common fashion materials; soft like cotton, functional like polyester. And these “plug and play” pellets can be integrated into a manufacturer’s existing production processes without the feedstock risks or environmental impact of petroleum. 

“GFA is striving to help innovation thrive by facilitating investment in early-stage solutions,” said Christina Iskov, head of innovation and development at GFA. “Innovators like Bloom Labs represent one of the keys to ‘unlocking the next level,’ the theme of this year’s summit. The urgency to transition to a circular economy is clear, and Bloom Labs’ scalable solution consistently impressed our esteemed jury members.” 

That jury included representatives from GFA, PDS Ventures, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ralph Lauren, Fashion For Good and the H&M Group. Eight shortlisted innovations were enrolled in a group of “trailblazers” who received feedback and investment pitch training from industry experts and PDS representatives. The shortlisted candidates included BiophilicaDyeRecycle, Pact, Silana, Sparxell, Syntetica and The Hurd Co. 

As the winner, Bloom Labs is expected to “diligently execute” its proposed idea while maintaining a commitment to “fostering a net-positive impact,” per the award’s terms and conditions. Progress reports on fund utilization must also be provided to both GFA and PDS Ventures at 6-month and 12-month intervals.

“It’s R&D and go-to-market. We are really close to scale. We’re operating on industrial scale now and we are finalizing partnerships,” Gulati told Sourcing Journal regarding what the company will do with the funds. “The prize money will go towards branding as fiber and going to market in the coming months.”

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