How H&M's Award Recognizes Undiscovered Sustainable Designers

Weaving threads of sustainability

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(Venturelli Luca /

The H&M Foundation just announced this year's winners of its Global Change Award, a prize awarded to brands who use technology to create more environmentally friendly and socially-conscious fashion. The winners earned the title after creating clothes made from mushroom roots, developing dissolvable thread, and sustainable algae-based dyes.

Close to 26 billion pounds of clothing is dropped into landfills each year, despite the fact that 95 percent of the materials are recyclable. By 2030, it’s predicted that clothing consumption will grow by 65 percent.

With the growing demand for fashion and increasing waste, H&M began The Global Change Award in 2015 to inspire designers to limit the carbon footprint and forgo materials with toxic chemicals. The winning teams were picked by fashion, sustainability, and innovation experts, and an online vote will determine how the startup winners will split the one million euro prize.

Vikram Widge, the Head of Climate Finance & Policy, World Bank Group and member of the Global Change expert panel said that the experts chose the winners based on their efforts to transform the fashion industry into a low-carbon, “circular economy.”

“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,” he said. Karl-Johan Persson, the CEO of H&M added that the initiative will be an important step for future generations and collaboration and a willingness to reinvent processes can alter the planet for the better.

As part of their prize and recognition for their hard work, the winners will gain access to one-year innovation accelerator that provides them with the tools, contacts, and press they need to turn their ideas into a renewable reality.

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