5 INNOVATIONS THAT CAN CHANGE FASHION
Imagine a future where we wear clothes made from oranges or grow our textile fibres under water. Both of these and three other bold innovations may soon be made reality. Keep reading to see what the future of sustainable fashion holds.
For months, the mailbox at H&M Conscious Foundation has been filling up with thousands of ideas and innovations. Why? Because of The Global Change Award, which is a competition looking for the boldest and brightest innovations aiming to make the future of fashion a sustainable one.
After launching the competition in August, a jury made up of distinguished professors as well as fashion stars like model/actress Amber Valletta and editor Franca Sozzani have handpicked five winning ideas.
“The Global Change Award asked the world for bold ideas to make change. And that is what we received. In these five winners I see innovation that can lead to the possible solutions for a sustainable fashion future,” says Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief Vogue Italia.
The five winning innovations will split the grant of 1,000,000 euros. But it won’t be an equal split – H&M Conscious Foundation wants your help to decide which innovation gets the most of it. Read about the innovations below and vote for your favourite here.
100 PERCENT CITRUS
Orange may very well be the new black. Using by-products instead of growing a dedicated crop is the perfect opportunity to produce sustainable textile fabrics – which is the foundation of this sustainable innovation. The yarn produced from the by-products from citrus juice production can be used to create different types of textiles and addresses the demand for high quality sustainable textiles. The first prototypes have already been developed, and research and further development is needed to begin replicating the process in other regions around the world where citrus juice is being produced.
GROWING TEXTILE FIBRE UNDER WATER
Many materials that are currently used in fashion leave some kind of environmental footprint. This innovation would minimise fashion’s footprint by making use of a material that grows in oceans, lakes and waterways and doesn’t require fresh water nor takes up land that could otherwise be used for growing food. We’re talking algae, which is an organic sea-organism that, when picked out of coastal regions, gives the opportunity to create a new type of raw material to produce renewable textile.
THE POLYESTER DIGESTER
Polyester is the world’s most common fibre for making textiles and clothes, but it’s difficult to recycle it effectively. This innovation involves a new type of microbe that eats waste and creates useful ingredients, which in turn can be used to produce new polyester without loss in quality. These unique microbes eat polyester and break it down into its most basic substances. The raw material can then be sold to polyester manufacturers that use it to produce new textiles. This process is especially effective when it comes to recycling textiles where polyester and, for example, cotton is mixed – something that isn’t possible today. If this innovation becomes reality, producers can make garments from 100 per cent recycled polyester at a much lower cost.
AN ONLINE MARKET FOR TEXTILE LEFTOVERS – A MARKETPLACE FOR INDUSTRIAL UPCYCLING OF SPILL IN PRODUCTION
10-15% out of the materials used in textile production ends up as spill. This innovation aims to create a global online marketplace to collect and process textile spill data, in real time, from manufacturers directly to designers and into the design process of new clothes. The platform is a software tool for garment manufacturers that gathers data on waste inventory tied to the production processes. It then connects producers and manufacturers with designers to get textile leftovers into production and into the design process, instead of it reaching the point where it becomes waste.
MAKING WASTE-COTTON NEW
As the world population grows so does the demand for consumer goods, which in the end cause textile waste. This innovation will use a new technology that dissolves textile waste and allows for waste cotton to be used as raw material in the production of new textiles, without loss in quality. This will reduce landfill waste and save natural resources, decreasing the environmental impact on both ends of the value chain. Cotton and similar textiles need very little pre-treatment before entering the recycling process. The next stage is to develop a pre-treatment process to separate different types of fabric to convert them into new, high-quality fibres.
The online vote is open from 1 February to 7 February. The Global Change Award Gala takes place in Stockholm on 10 February, where the allocation of the 1,000,000 euros will be made public. Read more and find out how to vote at globalchangeaward.com.
H&M CONSCIOUS FOUNDATION
• The H&M Conscious Foundation is an independent non-profit global foundation initiated by H&M. The Foundation is dedicated to drive positive change beyond the H&M value chain and improve living conditions by investing in communities, people and innovative ideas.
• The Global Change Award launched in August last year and is an innovation challenge in the fashion industry. Over 2,700 innovators from 112 countries shared their ideas on how to close the loop on fashion.