€1 Million Grant to Five Innovations That can Reinvent the Fashion Industry

NEW DELHI, September 20, 2016

Clothing made of citrus by-products, microbes that digest waste polyester, and an online marketplace for textile leftovers are some of the five disruptive ideas that shared the first €1 million Global Change Award grant in 2015. The challenge is designed to spur early innovations that can accelerate the shift from a linear to a circular fashion industry, with the aim of protecting the planet and our living conditions. On September 1st, the non-profit H&M Foundation opens the second Global Change Award. Initiated by H&M Foundation in 2015, the first Global Change Award received more than 2,700 applications from 112 countries.

“After seeing so many fantastic innovations from around the world with the potential to transform the fashion industry, we have been very eager to open up the next round of the Global Change Award. I am also honoured to welcome some new members to the expert panel such as Dame Ellen MacArthur, who besides making solo sailor history in 2005, has immense knowledge about the transition to a circular economy,” says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of the H&M Foundation and CEO of H&M.

Making the fashion industry circular is not just about recycling. To encourage ideas from a broader scope, Global Change Award 2016 has three categories open for applications: Circular business models covering ideas on how to reuse, repair, share, digitalize or extend the life of products. Circular materials looking for ideas on new fibres, recycling techniques, leather substitutes, etc. and circular processes aiming to find new methods around chemicals, water and dyeing, as well as 3D printing, demand-driven manufacturing, etc.

“By bringing together innovators to develop positive solutions, the Global Change Award is a great example of the approach needed to create change, and help shift the fashion industry towards a restorative and regenerative circular economy. I am excited to join the expert panel to help find the next five innovations that can be truly game-changing,” says Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Other members of the expert panel to help identify the best innovations for Global Change Award 2016 include Amber Valletta, Ellis Rubinstein, Rebecca Earley, Franca Sozzani, David Roberts (new), Lewis Perkins (new), Vikram Widge (new) and Johan Kuylenstierna (new). Besides the grant, the winners also get access to a one year Innovation Accelerator organized by the H&M Foundation, in partnership with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. It is designed to help ensure that the innovations can stand on their own as quickly as possible, and to maximize their impact on the industry.

By catalysing green, truly ground-breaking ideas, the Global Change Award takes on one of the biggest challenges facing today’s fashion industry – creating fashion for a growing population, while improving its impact on the environment. H&M Foundation initiated the challenge to speed up this process for the entire fashion industry, and neither the H&M Foundation nor the company H&M take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations. The aim is to influence the fashion industry as a whole.