Business Students Present Sustainability Project at World Retail Congress

From left: Prashita Bassi, Kaitlyn Hassan, Jesse Cabble, and Megan Antkoviak.

A team of students from FIT’s School of Business and Technology, representing the United States, developed an innovative retail concept and presented it at the Future Retail Challenge, an international student competition at the annual World Retail Congress, held in Paris April 15–17, with colleges competing from Amsterdam, London, and Lille, France.

The FIT team comprised Megan Antkoviak, an International Trade and Marketing major from Beavercreek, Ohio; Prashita Bassi, a Fashion Business Management major from Lucknow, India; Jesse Cabble, an International Trade and Marketing major from Carle Place, New York; and Kaitlyn Hassan, a Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing major from West Palm Beach, Florida.

The student teams were challenged to devise a campaign that would help a retailer reduce scope 3 emissions, the carbon footprint a company does not directly produce but contributes to nonetheless. Working with innovation advisory firm True, teams brainstormed sustainable solutions for the retail industry that could be implemented through collaborations with start-ups and scale-ups.

The FIT team’s concept, HANG UP, focused on the reduction in carbon emissions—along with the extension in the lifespan of the garment—if people simply hung their Levi’s jeans up to dry rather than put them in the dryer. Additionally, if they were to wash the jeans in cold water, they could save even more.

“It was definitely a journey,” Hassan said. “We wanted something that was easy enough for the consumer to implement into their habits that didn’t cost too much but that realized a great benefit for the environment.”

“The FIT team presented at the World Retail Congress in Paris in front of CEOs from around the world,” said Fashion Business Management Assistant Professor Robin Sackin, the team’s advisor and mentor. “Their dedication and hard work on this challenge was outstanding. They represent the future of retailing, and the Future Retail Challenge gives them an extraordinary opportunity to present their real-world ideas to executives from around the world.”

The judges were Antonis Kyprianou, international franchise director, Tendam; Bernie Brookes, chairman, Direct Group; Liam Buswell; director of innovation, True Global; Maryanne Grisz, global president and CEO, Fashion Group International; and Sagi Keen, CEO and cofounder, SpeedSize.

The team from London brought home the top honors.

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