NHCE2024: Atelier by H&M and Sexy Sustainability win the National Hackathon 2024!

Published on 15 February 2024 at 10:40

From 5 to 9 February 2024, the National Hackathon Circular Economy 2024 took place! Over 250 students mbo, hbo and wo worked on the challenge  how to accelerate the movement from fast fashion to slow fashion. Student teams from different regions in the Netherlands and from different fields of study worked together on issues of H&M and New Optimist.

“We invite you to form a part of the wheels turning towards circularity, and to think about solutions and to rethink the future of fashion into one your grandparents would be proud of” - That's how Laura Vicaria kicked off this fourth edition of the NHCE at the opening. 

During this week, students could follow different workshops and inspiration sessions from experts. The sessions were supportive in developing their solutions to the issues of H&M and New Optimist. For example, there was a workshop on circular fashion by Kim Poldner, professor Circular Business (Haagse Hogeschool), a workshop on value chain analysis by Jill de Bruijn (professor Hogeschool Rotterdam), and a workshop on communication by professor Transformational Media Bianca Harms (NHL-Stenden). 

The cases

H&M's issue focuses on opportunities to scale up their clothing rental business. So far, the organisation only offers rentals at their Kalverstraat branch in Amsterdam, but they would like to expand this. This is where they run into a number of challenges.

New Optimist's issue is how the organisation can better include consumers in their product passport, designed as a QR code on their clothing labels, through which they hope to encourage deposits on clothing. The information is there, but the experience is that it is difficult to bring the consumer into the story.

After the various workshops and inspiration sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, students worked towards five regional finals, which took place on Thursday. During the regional finals, the best ideas per region were pitched and the regional winners were chosen. As many as nine regional winners then pitched their ideas at the national Grande Finale on Friday. 

The Grande Finale

This year's Grande Finale took place at a beautiful, inspiring venue: the Fashion for Good Museum in Amsterdam. Among all the circular garments was a large screen and a stage: the setting for the day. Under the smooth, cheerful guidance of Marte Schuurmans (MetMarte), the nine regional winners pitched their ideas in front of a jury of experts.

After much deliberation, the jury - Antoine Heideveld, Kim Poldner, Larissa van der Knaap, Karlijn Frequin and Nelleke Wegdam - labelled the ideas of team Sexy Sustainability and team Atelier by H&M as the winners of the #NHCE2024!

The NHCE 2024 winners:

The idea of team Atelier by H&M is to stop selling party outfits completely, and switch completely to renting them out! This idea will be scaled up with an online digital stylist. This way you can easily rent your perfect outfit for any occasion and not have to buy a new one.

Jury comment: Strong concept that responds well to H&M's issue. Especially by strongly conveying that H&M really chooses to rent rather than sell with this solution.

Congratulations to Stefanija Duntava (RUG Campus Fryslân), Laura Pomocka (NHL- Stenden) and Silke de Rapper (Firda)!

Team Sexy Sustainability makes sustainability 'sexy' by making New Optimist's product passport part of the clothing as a QR code. Now the QR code is often tucked away in labels on the inside, but with this idea it actually becomes part of the outfit. This way, by wearing sustainable clothing, you make a statement.

Jury comment: We were inspired by the freshness of the ideas. This idea gives sustainability the coolness & sexiness it deserves!

Congratulations to Djamelle Sentjens and Mandy van Dijk (Avans University of Applied Sciences)!

Besides the winning teams and the other regional winners, we would also like to thank all the other students involved for their fantastic contribution. We were amazed by the number of good ideas for the two challenges. We would also like to thank all involved teachers, educational institutions, speakers, supervisors and judges for their enthusiasm before, during and after the Hackathon!

For educational institutions
In total, students from 16 different educational institutions participated in the Hackathon. The content of the Hackathon in the educational programme differed from institution to institution. At one institution, the Hackathon was part of a minor, while at another it was the start of a new semester. We saw another great initiative in Friesland, where Spark the Movement brought together dozens of students from Firda, NHL Stenden and RUG Campus Fryslân in multi-level teams. There were also students who joined the Hackathon individually, participating in a team with other students. 


About Leadership for the Circular Transition
The National Hackathon Circular Economy is part of the Leadership for the Circular Transition programme, in which we teach students skills to take up their role in the transition to a circular economy. In various workshops and inspiration sessions, divided into modules, students learn and experiment under the guidance of experts from different educational institutions. The Spring School will start in March 2024, where we will delve deeper into the themes that emerged during the Hackathon. Would you like to participate as an individual or with your educational institution? Sign up using this link or by contacting Dianne de Fijter via dianne.defijter@hetgroenebrein.nl!

In the programme, different educational institutions work together through co-creation. The programme is coordinated by Het Groene Brein and is made possible by the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and Duurzaam Door.