Author: Louis Juste
Luxembourg’s latest fashion tech athena studio aims to support industry players in reducing their environmental footprint by allowing product developers to select more sustainable and less costly material with the help of its AI-driven SaaS platform.
It’s no secret that the fashion industry has an outsize carbon footprint – about 4% of the global total GHG emissions– something many industry players like to hide behind by espousing the virtues of using organic and recycled materials.
“All the big brands have good sustainability teams and net-zero goals but lack integration between their sustainability teams and product development and design teams,” says Heidi van Dyck, CEO and co-founder of athena studio.
This integration is key because over 80% of the fashion industry’s environmental impact, which will need to be reported to the EU over the next years, is driven by product decisions. athena studio’s web-based “smart assistant” aims to facilitate this integration by allowing product developers to optimize each design for profitability and ecological footprint.
“The problem that we’re solving is that at the moment, product development is not data-driven, it’s gut-feeling based.” Heidi van Dyck, CEO and co-founder of athena studio.
They say that you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but with athena studio’s nifty AI-driven SaaS platform that might just become possible. The platform makes use of historical price data and EU-compliant Life-Cycle Assessment to help product designers make more sustainable choices without compromising on gross margin.
“Our platform uses two proprietary algorithms: the Pricinity algorithm uses AI to forecast the material cost and garment prices, and the Ecometric algorithm calculates the environmental impact of each product,” says Heidi.
After designs, including their selected materials and supplier, have been uploaded on athena studio, the platform visualizes its financial and environmental impact and recommends multiple alternative materials which are cheaper and/or more sustainable.
“It’s not about changing everything massively, but small changes in cost or footprint on a style level scale rapidly and significantly over a full collection,” explains Heidi.
Currently, the platform, the prototype of which was built in the last five months, already offers price and sustainability metrics for materials used in “90-95% of all clothing items”. It also has a dashboard where management and the sustainability team can monitor in real-time how the relevant metrics are developing as the collection is being created.
An enterprise software
Benefitting from longstanding relationships in the fashion industry, Heidi has had the advantage of showcasing her solution to big fashion brands and gathering important feedback.
“As large companies have long sales cycles, we continue to develop the relationship with them, but we also recently also started working with smaller local brands.,” explains Heidi.
This is all part of Athena studio’s parallel strategy, allowing the bootstrapped fashion tech the flexibility of trialling its solution with local brands while getting a proof of concept with bigger brands which will facilitate fundraising when the time is right.
“The end goal for athena studio is to become an enterprise software that is really connected to the brands’ systems.” Heidi van Dyck, CEO and co-founder of athena studio.
The fashion tech has started a few projects with smaller brands and is doubling down on sales and business development in the second half of this year
To schedule a demo and learn more about athena studio’s platform, see here.
Article courtesy of our content partner Silicon Luxembourg