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€1 million grant given to five sustainable fashion innovations

Lab made vegan leather, fibers made of nettles, a digital system to make products recyclable from scratch, children’s clothes that expand and a biodegradable toxic-free membrane for outdoor wear are this year’s Global Change Award winners, sharing a €1 million grant from the H&M Foundation. Today H&M Foundation also announces an initiative with crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, that puts consumers in the front seat, enabling them to take active part as supporters, backers, and testers of the five innovations.

“The winners of the Global Change Award prove that it’s possible to improve the environmental impact of the fashion industry. They are a true inspiration and great partners to any fashion company that wants to contribute to protecting the planet and our living conditions. The initiative with Indiegogo adds an important piece as it also enables the public to be at the very heart of finding and funding a future for sustainable style,” said Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and CEO of H&M Group.

“The winners of the Global Change Award are a true inspiration and great partners to any fashion company that wants to contribute to protecting the planet and our living conditions.

Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and CEO of H&M Group

Selected out of 6,640 entries from 182 countries by the prominent expert panel, here are this year’s Global Change Award winners and how the €1 million grant is distributed:

€300,000 – The Loop Scoop by circular.fashion: A digital system aiming to close the loop on every garment from design to wear to recycling (Germany).

€250,000 – Sane Membrane by dimpora: A biodegradable and mineral-based membrane for outdoor wear (Switzerland).

€150,000 – Sustainable Sting by Green Nettle Textile: Growing nettles to create sustainable fashion fibers and opportunities for farmers in Kenya to boost their livelihoods (Kenya).

€150,000 – Clothes that Grow by Petit Pli: Outfits that expand with the child, while reducing environmental impact (UK).

€150,000 – Lab Leather by Le Qara: Using microorganisms to create vegan biodegradable leather for the fashion industry (Peru).

In addition to the financial grant, all winners also get access to a one-year innovation accelerator program provided by H&M Foundation in partnership with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, taking them to Stockholm, New York and Hong Kong. The program also gives access to virtual coaching sessions during the year. This setup brings significant value to the winners and has proven to cut years off the development timeline.

“In five years, our idea will have increased the use of fiber recycling and multiple reuse possibilities tremendously. We envision that 150 million circularity.ID’s will be out on the market, ensuring that each circularly designed garment will be regenerated to high quality fibers after use,” said Ina Budde, co-founder of circular.fashion.

Among the thousands of entries to this year’s Global Change Award, 45 percent rank “funding” as their biggest obstacle. Clearly, crowdfunding holds great untapped potential as a funding option as well as an opportunity for the whole innovation ecosystem to contribute and make a difference. H&M Foundation’s initiative with Indiegogo puts consumers in the front seat, enabling them to take active part as supporters, backers and testers of the five innovations.

“Additional funding could unlock the opportunity for us to experiment with recycled fibers, colors and patterns which we currently are unable to achieve at our size.”

Ryan Yasin, founder of Petit Pli

“Additional funding could unlock the opportunity for us to experiment with recycled fibers, colors and patterns which we currently are unable to achieve at our size. It would also allow us to make additional hires needed ahead of entering scaled production of Petit Pli suits,” said Ryan Yasin, founder of Petit Pli.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Quotes from innovation accelerator partners

“Making the fashion industry more sustainable is not easy. A true circular economy will require collective action from the entire value chain,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director and global head of Retail at Accenture. “We are passionate about our role in supporting the H&M Foundation’s mission through the Global Change Award, giving fashion innovators the platform to develop and scale their ideas – and make a lasting impact on the industry.”

“This year GCA focus on digitalization as a tool for making fashion industry sustainable, looking for solutions that enables every sphere in the productional ecosystem. It lines very well with KTH:s vision that we should, with our know-how in the area, be a leader in the digitalization of education, research and cooperation,” said Sigbritt Karlsson, President of KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Short facts on the entries

  • This year, we received 6,640 entries from 182 countries, with a tremendous increase in entries from emerging markets. For example, the number of entries originating from Africa and Asia have increased almost 200% and 90% respectively from 2018 to 2019.
  • Top 10 countries by number of entries: 1. India, 2. Nigeria, 3. Pakistan, 4. United States, 5. Ghana, 6. Bangladesh, 7. Kenya, 8. United Kingdom, 9. Indonesia, 10. South Africa.
  • 47% of the ideas are female-led, close to 34% are students and 41% of the applicants are between the ages of 25-34.

For more information or scheduling of interviews, please contact

Malin Björne
Communications Manager, H&M Foundation
malin.bjorne@hmfoundation.com
+46 70 796 39 75