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Public voting opens for the Global Change Award 2018

By Vivian Hendriksz

12 Mar 2018


London - The third cycle of the Global Change Award, an innovation challenge initiated by the H&M Foundation in 2015, has officially opened its public voting round. An expert international panel, consisting of industry experts, sustainability specialists and circular leaders, has selected 5 winning innovations for the Global Change Award 2018, and now it is up to the public to decide how the 1 million euro grant should be divided.

As the fashion industry works to shift from a linear model to a circular model, reducing and reusing the number of textiles produced it vital to accelerating positive change. Imagine being able to buy and use a jacket made from the leftover harvests of flaxseeds, sugar cane and pineapples, or wearing a t-shirt made of mushroom roots - one that you could decompose in your own backyard when its completely worn out. Or imagine wearing a dress that also nourishes and protects your skin while you wear it? These are just a few of the 5 winning ideas from the third edition of the Global Change Award. The online vote offers the public a unique chance to help influence the fashion industry and contribute to a more sustainable future. With over 2,600 entries from 151 countries for the Global Change Award 2018, it is clear that innovations to help change the future of fashion in abundance.

"Moving towards a circular fashion industry is of immense importance. Even though it’s challenging, it also opens great opportunities and makes clear business sense"

Karl-Johan Persson, Board member H&M Foundation and CEO H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB

Crop-A-Porter: Making bio-textiles from food harvest leftovers

The waste from food crops is often seen as a pretty useless byproduct of harvesting - it is either burnt or left to rot, releasing polluting carbon dioxide and methane gas into the atmosphere. However, Crop-A-Porters aims to take this waste and turn it into a valuable resource for the fashion industry, generating an additional avenue of income for farmers. Crop-A-Porter takes the harvest remains from crops such as oil-seed flax, hemp, sugarcane, bananas and pineapple and turns it into a useful bio-fiber using a low-cost, closed-loop technology, which can then be used to make sustainable textiles for the fashion industry.

Algae Apparel: Using algae to make bio-fiber and eco-friendly dye

Algae Apparel aims to solve the fashion industry's issues with growing natural fibers, like cotton, and textile dyeing in one go by using algae. A renewable and degradable aquatic organism, algae can be turned into bio-fiber and earth-friendly dye using new innovative technology. In addition to being sustainable, clothes made from algae release anti-oxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients into the wearer's skin.

Smart Stitch: a dissolvable thread to make recycling easier

Smart Stitch is a thread which dissolves at a high temperature, making garment recycling complications, such as the removal of zippers and buttons a breeze. This help cut down the time and manual assistance needed to remove details from garments while recycling garments. In addition, Smart Stitch can also be used for regular seams in garments, making it easier to disassemble any garment so the fabric can be used over and over again.

The Regenerator: Separating cotton and polyester blends

The Regenerator is a circular technology that uses an environmentally friendly chemical to separate and regenerate cotton and polyester textile blends into new and fully useable textile fibers. This innovation is set to accelerate the recycling of fabrics, as mixed materials, like cotton and polyester blends, are widely used. By un-mixing mixed fibers to create new fibers, the Regenerator will help make new fibers for the fashion industry.

Fungi Fashion: Clothes made from decomposable mushroom roots

Mycelium, also known as mushroom roots, is a natural resource which can be used to make decomposable fashion. This innovation combines mycelium with 3D technology to produce custom-made clothing, without having to cut and sew, solving the fashion industry's shortage of resources and waste. Once consumers have worn their fungi garment out, they can bury it in the ground and it will naturally decompose. "Until now, fashion has been fun, but from now on fashion can also be fungi!"

“We are at a historic point where we have to make radical changes to our industry”

Professor Edwin Keh, CEO of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, part of the Global Change Award Expert Panel 2018.

“How we manage and consume resources will be crucial for the lives of present and future generations. All industries need to re-think, innovate and challenge status quo," said Karl-Johan Persson, Board member H&M Foundation and CEO H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB in a statement. "Creative innovations are key to make this shift, and I congratulate the Global Change Awards winners who all have the power to help reinvent the fashion industry, enabling products and resources to be cycled instead of just having one single life."

The public can cast their vote on how the grant should be spl it online at globalchangeaward.com from March 12 to March 16, before the winners are given their grants during the Grand Award Ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden on March 20. The teams behind the winning innovations will also be revealed on the same day. In addition to winning a grant, the winners will also be given access to a one-year innovation accelerator provided by the H&M Foundation in collaboration with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Through the accelerator, the winners will travel to Stockholm, New York, and Shanghai providing a toolbox of skills, networks and exposure to help them leverage their innovations and grant.

“This year’s Global Change Award winners are about disrupting business-as-usual to help transition us to a low-carbon and circular economy," added Vikram Widge, Head, Climate Finance & Policy, IFC, World Bank Group and member of the Global Change Award expert panel. "Whether it is fibers from organic waste or algae, or new approaches to recycling, the winners showcase potentially transformative approaches from sourcing to end-of-use management."

Photos : Courtesy of the H&M Foundation