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We are pleased to announce our active involvement as a lab in shemakes, an important two-year European-Union-funded project under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Shemakes goal and method

The goal of shemakes is to empower future female innovators of the sustainable fashion industry through inspiration, skills and networks. More specifically, working as a community, shemakes provides innovative learning paths for girls and women of various ages, and concrete business support and connections to assist female entrepreneurs. A final element is the inspiration provided by the network’s advisors, gurus and ambassadors.

This is a three-pronged approach because we recognize that there is no single, magic formula and we need to operate on multiple planes to break down systemic gender constructs that inhibit many women’s ability to get ahead in the industry.

Shemakes labs

Part of the solution is to create opportunities and environments that enable women to move into roles of increasing power. This connects directly to the essential role of what this project calls “labs”, which are physical spaces for textile experimentation. These might be fablabs, incubators, research institutes, cultural associations or co-working spaces. In these safe spaces, we develop and test new ideas, carry out learning modules, hold workshops addressing gender issues or female entrepreneurship, and learn how to produce textile differently, with new machinery, methods or simply attitudes.

Partnership is a two-year European-Union funded initiative (Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No 101006203) with a consortium of ten partners in seven countries. With the expansion of the network to include twelve new labs at the halfway point, the project now covers 16 countries in the EU and associated countries.

For more information about shemakes, please see the website and follow on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @shemakes_eu).