It’s been a busy few weeks for award winner announcements and on Thursday, H&M Group named the winners of its Global Change Award, its “early-stage innovation challenge seeking bright minds that can transform fashion”.
There are 10 winners, sharing a €2 million grant from the non-profit H&M Foundation and they cover a big range of subjects. Think recyclable and biodegradable polyurethane, food waste polyester, circular dyeing, natural bio-colours, ultra-high-performing textiles, seaweed material, AI textile sorting, corn husk and sugarcane fabric, a zero waste pattern system, and textile-to-textile recycling for polyesters.
With the “ultimate aspiration of a planet positive fashion future”, this year, H&M Foundation has doubled both the grant and the number of recipients “to speed up the transformation”.
So who are this year’s winners? Under the Material heading, there’s the UK’s Algreen and Nanoloom, Alt Tex from Canada, India’s KBCols Sciences; PhycoLabs from Brazil and Rethread Africa from Kenya.
Under the Recycling heading, there are two US firms — Refiberd and Tereform — plus the UK’s DyeRecycle.
And there’s one company in the Design category — US-based SXD.
Each of them will receive €200,000 and embark on a year-long GCA Impact Accelerator. H&M Foundation has linked with GCA’s core partners Accenture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and The Mills Fabrica to offer “tailored coaching and support to accelerate their journey from idea to scale”.
The H&M Foundation and Group don’t have any shareholder equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations and the winners can choose which people and firms to collaborate with.
Christiane Dolva, Strategy Lead, H&M Foundation, said: “There’s a wide range of solutions among this year’s winners. If scaled, I believe they could have a real impact on the industry – which needs a holistic transformation if we are to reach a planet positive fashion future. We look forward to working with the winners during the accelerator and help enable their innovations to accelerate and scale.”
Meanwhile, Karl-Johan Persson, H&M Foundation board member and chairman of the Swedish fashion giant, added: “We have an urgent opportunity to support innovations that could transform the entire fashion industry – that’s why we’re doubling the grant and the number of winners. We’re giving these innovators a total of €2 million and access to our accelerator programme – but we’re also giving the industry an opportunity to connect with these brilliant innovators. I’m excited to see the impact these innovators will make on the industry.”
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