Every year, as part of its Global Change Award, the H&M Foundation selects and funds innovators who aim to change fashion for the better.
This year, the foundation awarded 10 innovators 200,000 euros each, amounting to 2 million euros in all, to scale their projects. Among the winning innovations are U.K.-based companies Algreen (bio-based polyurethane), DyeRecycle (chemical recycling) and Nanoloom (high-performance textile). U.S.-based companies include Refiberd (laser textile sorting), Tereform (circular solutions for hard-to-recycle textiles) and SXD (zero-waste patternmaking). Canada-based Alt Tex (transforming food waste into threads), Kenya-based Rethread Africa (agricultural waste into synthetics), India-based KBCols Sciences (bio-fermented dyes) and Brazil-based PhycoLabs (seaweed fibers) were also among the winners.
“There’s a wide range of solutions among this year’s winners,” Christiane Dolva, strategy lead at the H&M Foundation, said in a press statement. “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.”
Nanoloom’s chief executive officer Victoria Mataczynski offered a glimpse into the process. “Within the next year, we hope to launch our first product on the market and to scale our manufacturing. This requires determining our material’s most efficient initial end-product application, such as footwear or elastane, and working with industry partners to implement it.”
Since the award’s inception in 2015, the foundation has doled out more than 7 million euros for the sake of innovation. As with previous winners, this year’s cohort will become members of the alumni group, obtaining access to a valuable network for connection and collaboration, supported by H&M Foundation and partners. Neither the H&M Foundation nor the H&M Group take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations.