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H&M Foundation puts €1 million and coaching program on the table for ideas reinventing the entire fashion industry

Today, the non-profit H&M Foundation opens the fourth round of its annual innovation challenge Global Change Award at With over 8,000 entries from 151 countries since 2015, it’s the go-to competition for circular innovation and has been named the Nobel Prize of fashion. It provides powerful funding and yearlong coaching to innovators who come up with solutions to spark the shift towards a circular fashion industry, protecting the planet and our living conditions. This year there’s an extra eye on ideas within digitalization. The applications period is open until 17 October.

To speed up the shift from the standard linear model where clothes often end up in the landfill, to a circular model where materials can be reused or recycled, the Global Change Award was initiated in 2015 by H&M Foundation, in collaboration with Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

The Global Change Award wants to find tomorrow’s game changers. It can come from anyone, anywhere. The top five countries with the highest number of entries since 2015 are India, US, Italy, Nigeria and UK. The innovation should have the potential to make fashion circular and thereby protect the planet and our living conditions. Other criteria are its impact and scalability, that it’s novel and economically sustainable and that the team is suited to make a difference.

“Innovation and collaboration lead fashion’s shift to circularity and a more sustainable future. The Global Change Award’s support to material and systems innovators not only helps to accelerate the success of each individual awardee but also impacts the progress of the global fashion industry.”

Steven Kolb, President and CEO The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and member of the Global Change Award 2019 Expert Panel

“New ideas are the foundation for change, but scaling them is an enormous challenge for every innovator. Together with our partners Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, we’ve seen previous winners cut years off their timeline through our accelerator program. Now, we are eager to welcome five new circular heroes and encourage everyone who wants to reinvent one of the world’s largest industries to apply.”

Karl-Johan Persson, board member of the H&M Foundation
and CEO of H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB

Previous winners with unexpected techniques, methods and fabrics show an incredible range of innovation possibilities, and how it can unlock solutions to big challenges. This year’s application period is 29 August to 17 October. An international expert panel with extensive knowledge within fashion, environment, circularity, entrepreneurship and innovation selects the five winners which are crowned at the Grand Award Ceremony in Stockholm City Hall in April 2019.

“This year we keep an extra eye on digital innovations which can make significant impact on efficiency, planning and resource use – all the way from making raw material to a garment’s end of life. Digitalization has the potential to disrupt at the root, reinvent how things are done and help producers, sellers and customers to become circular.”  

Erik Bang, Innovation Lead, H&M Foundation

H&M Foundation initiated the challenge to find innovations that allow major change for the entire industry, and the winner can collaborate with whoever they want. Neither the non-profit H&M Foundation nor H&M group take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations.