26 June 2024 Story Fashion

In conversation with Katrin Ley

Established in 2017 with Laudes Foundation as its founding partner, Fashion for Good was conceived to drive the fashion industry to be a force for good. On the industry side they focus on scaling and implementing sustainable fashion innovations in the value chain, and through the world's first museum for circular fashion innovation, build a movement with the public.  

With the announcement of its renewed strategy at the start of 2024 came a shift in focus. The Fashion for Good museum would conclude and Fashion for Good would double down on efforts with industry to enable widespread adoption and scale of innovations.  

Laudes Foundation's Director of Industry Programmes, Amol Mehra, caught up with Katrin Ley, Managing Director at Fashion for Good, to learn more about her story, the next moves for Fashion for Good, and what she sees for the future of fashion. 


Fashion For Good Building outside

As I climbed the stairs of the beautiful building that has, for the past seven years, housed the Fashion for Good Museum, I paused to reflect on the legacy of the institution and its contribution to the cultural heartbeat of Amsterdam. In a short space of time, the museum had a significant and far-reaching impact on the fashion industry, with the thousands of visitors that passed through its doors and an impressive following on social media.

The building stands tall at a busy corner in central Amsterdam, facing towards a street buzzing with cyclists and tourists, and backed by Amsterdam's largest shopping street with brands like Zara, H&M and C&A as anchors. While the museum itself closed its doors in June to bolster the Innovation Platform, the Fashion for Good headquarters still occupy the upper floors of the building. The rest of the space is now home to a growing community of like-minded organisations focused on driving change in the fashion industry. 

Fashion For Good Stairs
Fashion For Good Infinity Mirror Credits Presstigieux

The space itself feels open yet also focused, reflective yet also forward thinking. And that's no surprise – it's exactly how I would describe Fashion for Good's indefatigable Managing Director, Katrin Ley. 


An Adventurer Meets Fashion 

Seven years into her role and Katrin Ley shows no signs of slowing down. She joined Fashion for Good after an impressive career working in a range of businesses and geographies, from serving as the Managing Director within the adidas Group in the U.S. and the Netherlands to her time as Managing Director of Pymwyic, or "Put Your Money Where Your Meaning Is Community", a peer-to-peer impact holding company welcoming mission aligned families and individual investors to work together for change. When I asked Katrin to share what gives her energy, the answer was clear: creating platforms for collaborative action. She's an adventurer who brings together various stakeholders to co-create and drive solutions.  


"Our secret sauce: Innovators + Brands x Investment = Scale" 

Katrin Ley

This is exactly what Fashion for Good is about. It unites the fashion ecosystem from brands, retailers, suppliers, innovators and funders to collaborate and drive towards a regenerative industry. At the core, Fashion for Good enables and supports innovators on their journey to scale, providing them hands-on support, connections to brands and leveraging investment to drive scale. This "secret sauce" serves as the basis for its strategic plan for the next five years, doubling down on a group of 180+ innovators and connecting them with more than 12% of the fashion industry that participates in Fashion for Good. And the proof is clear. To date, Fashion for Good has leveraged over 2 billion dollars towards innovations in the sector. 

Four Unlocks to Drive Fashion's Transformation 

But it can't be that easy, or it would have been done already. So, when I asked Katrin what she sees as critical to drive the work forward, faster and with increased scale she shared her top four unlocks.  

First, innovations must move beyond piloting and be implemented in supply chains. Here, she detailed Fashion for Good's deep commitment to working with suppliers directly and moving to build their capacity and uptake.  

Next, innovators must address price, technical aspects of their work and be able to demonstrate impact. Innovations that cannot win across these pillars will not be able to achieve market uptake.  

Third, a policy environment is critical to driving brand uptake and innovator support. Here, she noted how recent EU legislative directives, including the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, have helped embed Fashion for Good innovators into corporate practice, particularly around supply chain tracking tools.  

Finally, finance must flow to support the innovations and their development. Here, Fashion for Good is building a financing vehicle and seeking to align and aggregate investment to fuel the sectors frontrunning innovations. 


Fashion For Good Bulding

As we wrapped up our chat, I asked Katrin to share what gives her hope in her work. Her answer was quick and clear: "The innovators and entrepreneurs give me hope. Their relentless energy and ideas... it's inspiring."  

And that's exactly how I felt after my time with Katrin: inspired. 


  • Amol Mehra

    By Amol Mehra

    Director of Industry Programmes