Circular Economy: Fashion Tech Incubator The Mills Fabrica To Open New Physical Hub In London

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Hong Kong-based sustainable innovation platform, The Mills Fabrica, which helps fashion and food tech industries transition to a circular economy, is set to expand in the U.K. with its new physical hub set to open in London this June.

Set to open in London’s King’s cross, The Mills Fabrica’s new location will be the Cottam House which is a three-story Victorian warehouse spanning 11,383 sq. ft. and will feature a start-up incubator, an investment platform, a co-working space driven by members and a retail space and café that will be accessible to the general public.

In addition to this, the new location will help kickstart a cross-border tech incubation program that will span Asia and The U.K. and will focus on sustainable innovations by the fashion and food industries.

Founded in 2018 by Vanessa Cheung, granddaughter of Hong Kong-based property developer, the Nan Fung Group, The Mills was born by transforming its old textile factories into an innovation center, and now with its business incubator, helps fashion and food innovators make the shift to a circular economy.

Its existing partners include Central Saint Martins, HKRITA (The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel) and Fashion for Good.

Apart from this, new material innovators like Renewcell, Mango Materials and Geltor; supply chain companies Huue, Chain of Demand and sustainable design and on-demand manufacturing Unspun are among The Mills Fabrica’s investment portfolio.

In a press release seen by Green Queen, Cheung said that the team is thrilled to open its doors in the U.K. “Over the past year it has been a pleasure to work with our various international partners in this region be it universities, retailers or other incubators and investors. With this new expansion, we look forward to working with new and current partners in building out an international community of innovators and to continue to support these innovators to take their ideas to market.”

The Mills Fabrica will particularly focus on how companies can transition to a zero-waste model and by empowering startups, pushing for better supply chains and production models, the program will help firms reduce their environmental and social impact. The inaugural UK incubatees include Reflaunt, Smartzer, Colorifix, Modern Synthesis, and our very own award-winning impact media platform Green Queen.

With this new expansion, we look forward to working with new and current partners in building out an international community of innovators and to continue to support these innovators to take their ideas to market

Vanessa Cheung, founder, The Mills Fabrica

The new London outpost will be headed by Christian Layolle, a former global head of Business Development at The Business of Fashion (BoF). Layolle said that the team will continue its work of building a sense of community. “We like to describe ourselves as ‘ecosystem builders.’ As a platform, we’re able to connect the dots between various stakeholders from the startups innovating, to the corporates implementing at scale, to the NGOs and governments regulating, all the way to inspiring and helping students. We look forward to seeing this come to life in London in the next few months.”

With respect to food tech companies, the focus will be on innovating future foods that have less impact on the environment, are healthier, understand supply chain innovations such as precision agriculture, and at the same time work on solutions to address food waste.

Participating startups will benefit from several investment funds including AgFunder, SOSV and Idea Farm Ventures.

Going forward, The Mills Fabrica aims to reach Chinese consumers through its retail presence by accelerating its biotech innovations through the NF Life Sciences arm.

Disclaimer: Green Queen Media is a 2021 incubatee of The Mills Fabrica Hong Kong incubation program.

Lead image courtesy of The Mills Fabrica.


  • Tanuvi Joe

    Born and bred in India and dedicated to the cause of sustainability, Tanuvi Joe believes in the power of storytelling. Through her travels and conversations with people, she raises awareness and provides her readers with innovative ways to align themselves towards a kinder way of living that does more good than harm to the planet. Tanuvi has a background in Journalism, Tourism, and Sustainability, and in her free time, this plant parent surrounds herself with books and rants away on her blog Ruffling Wings.

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