Circular Design Challenge

Published: April 10, 2024
Author: Fashion Value Chain
Empowering Sustainable Fashion Innovations

The Circular Design Challenge, presented by R|ElanTM in partnership with the United Nations in India, offers young fashion designers and entrepreneurs a global platform to showcase their circular innovations. This initiative focuses on nurturing environmental champions in the fashion and textile industry by promoting sustainable practices throughout the value chain. 

Through mentorship, market access, and promotion, the program propels the next generation of leaders who are revolutionising the industry’s approach to circularity. This partnership showcases how industry, the fashion ecosystem, and multilateral organisations such as the UN can collaborate to drive transformative change towards sustainability, aligning with the principles of Mission LiFE announced by India’s Prime Minister.

Program Credibility

The application form for the Circular Design Challenge was created in partnership with UNEP and Intellecap’s Circular Apparel Innovation Factory (CAIF). This form evaluates circular design principles, social impact, alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and potential scalability. Each application undergoes a detailed scoring framework, leading to the shortlisting of semifinalists. The semifinalists then present their applications to a jury, from which 6-8 finalists are selected to pitch their ideas to a renowned jury, showcasing their collections and impact stories.

Selection Criteria

The Circular Design Challenge evaluates several key criteria when selecting finalists:

  • Biodegradable and Regenerative elements
  • Durability and Multifunctionality of designs
  • Energy efficiency and closed-loop systems
  • Material and Process Innovation
  • Social Impact and Ethical Sourcing and Production

Applicants are expected to incorporate circular design principles across the textile value chain, from fibre to post-consumer stages. Emphasis is placed on innovative practices such as using recycled materials, reducing resource consumption, and improving production efficiencies. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate a positive impact on the environment and society through waste reduction, pollution prevention, and ethical business practices.

Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation criteria for the Circular Design Challenge focus on:

  • Originality of Concept and Innovation in Design
  • Incorporation of Circular Design Principles
  • Ethical Business Practices
  • Clarity of Vision in Design Philosophy and Execution

The juries, consisting of experts, designers, media representatives, and activists, select finalists based on the quality, design, circular principles, innovation, and marketability of their submissions. Applicants must showcase a clear vision for their label through aesthetic design philosophy, collection theme, and execution.

Eligibility Criteria

To participate in the Circular Design Challenge, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of India or have a registered company in India
  • For international participants, nomination by a CDC Nomination Partner
  • Limit of 8 years of professional experience post-education
  • Ability to fund the creation of up to 6 looks for the final presentation
  • Original work with no plagiarism and clear attribution of inspiration

Apart from these, a few other points must be kept in mind. Find a detailed version on the Circular Design Challenge’s website.

Application Process

To apply for the Circular Design Challenge, applicants must:

  1. Submit the Application Form
  2. Prepare a PPT for collection submission
  3. Include any relevant patents or official documents for unique processes
  4. Follow the guidelines for presentations and image submissions

The deadline for application submission is 30th April 2024. Successful applicants will be notified via email of the next steps. For more information, contact


The Circular Design Challenge offers a unique opportunity for young designers and entrepreneurs to showcase their sustainable fashion innovations on a global platform. By focusing on circular design principles, environmental impact, and social responsibility, this initiative aims to propel the fashion industry towards a more sustainable and ethical future. Join the challenge today and be a part of the movement towards a circular and eco-friendly fashion industry!

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