Young Innovators Success Stories: Graysha Audren, Weffan Ltd, London
The young innovator cutting fashion waste with 3D woven clothing
Graysha Audren founded Weffan to explore textile solutions to the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
Weffan develops fully fashioned 3D woven garments in one step. The fabric and garment are woven simultaneously on an automated jacquard loom, which shortens production steps, minimises waste and creates a more transparent manufacturing supply chain.
When Graysha won the Young Innovators Award, she had proven Weffan’s technology in concept – but needed guidance on how to take the idea forward.
A year on and Graysha has made huge strides towards her vision. The Award funding supported the weaving and development of early trouser designs, as well as the purchase of a digital pattern-cutting programme to cut down on waste.
Graysha has now designed and tested a range of 3D woven trousers, and has a better understanding of the commercial path forward.
“We identified the loom restraints that prevent 3D weaving a fully commercial garment and now understand what needs to be done for a commercial ready product,” she says.
“In the process, we gained valuable market feedback, learned to communicate to different audiences and developed Weffan’s unique selling point (USP).”
Confidence and resources
Graysha credits the programme’s mentoring support with helping her clarify Weffan’s value proposition and long-term goals.
“The business mentorship has been critical to my progress, both as an individual and for the business,” she says.
“From developing Weffan’s mission to grant writing to strategising the best ways of working, the mentorship has given me the confidence and resources needed to feel like I can run a business with the potential to scale.”
A safe space
Like many others, this confidence boost has been a core part of Graysha’s experience with the Young Innovators programme. She describes it as a “safe space”, where she could speak to other innovators in the cohort who were going through the same things.
“I’ve built the confidence and skills to get this innovation off the ground and get out there testing the products in the market,” she says.
Graysha has ambitious plans for the next 12 months, including establishing customer relationships ready for launch and applying for grants to buy the equipment Weffan needs.
“I’ve applied for the Women in Innovation Awards to research and develop new 3D woven garments. From there, we can begin collaboration and small-run productions with young designer fashion brands looking for sustainable solutions.”
She’s also looking for ways to share her experience with others, having seen first-hand the impact mentoring can have.
“I’ve realised the value of mentoring others who want to go into the sustainability sector, so I‘ve developed an intern programme to pass along knowledge and experience to others,” she says.
Idea to tangible product
For future Young Innovators Award applicants, Graysha recommends making the most of the network and support on offer.
Weffan started as an idea; Graysha has now tested her first prototype, developed key partnerships with manufacturers and gained the skills to take the business to the next level.
“If you have an idea and don’t know where to begin or need support turning it into a real, tangible product, then Young Innovators is the perfect programme for you. It’s given me the support and space to grow as an individual and founder,” she says.
Join us and become part of the Young Innovators community. Find out more about the programme here.
Read the other Young Innovators’ success stories here.