July 27, 2021

With its Global Change Award, the H&M Foundation supports five new start-ups

The H&M foundation took over Stockholm City Hall on April 3 to celebrate innovation in the fashion world. All with a tone deliberately turned towards eco-responsibility, one of the Swedish giant’s communication hobbyhorses.

Members of the five winning projects – FNW: OG

Blockchain, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, new responsible materials, Internet of things … The fashion world is at the beginnings of a profound change. Research and new technologies open the field of possibilities. And young companies are launching into these new breaches to offer new materials and even new business models.

For four years, through its foundation headed by Diana Amini, H&M, the Swedish giant renowned for its fast fashion model, has been rewarding young shoots for innovative approaches that can make the fashion sector more responsible. On April 3, the new winners of the “Global Change” Trophies rewarded five companies among the 6,000 projects presented. Winners who share a budget of one million euros awarded by H&M.

The Loop Scoop project, from the German company circular.fashion, was awarded a budget of 300,000 euros. This solution provides information to designers on the materials, but also the cuts and processes to be used to optimize the design as well as the end of life and recycling of a product. “Currently we are ten enthusiasts. The amount of the prize will allow us to create a collection with our software, explains Ina Budde. The other big challenge for us is that we have an independent design tool. We have to create an interface with the brands’ systems to have an integration into their system. “

The Swiss Dimpora team receives 250,000 euros for its waterproof Sane Membrane, biodegradable and made from minerals. It is intended to replace membranes used in the outdoors. And the challenge is to seduce the major players in the sector. “The award will allow us to develop more tests and expand the team,” explains Mario Stucki. We bring another, better material, but we have to convince of our ability to meet their expectations. “

The nettle farm project called Sustainable Sting, led by the Kenyan team of Green Nettle Textile, has a prize of 150,000 euros. Nettle, whose culture adapts to difficult terrain, can be used to create a responsible material, in the lineage of flax. The team points out that residues from the manufacturing process can be used to make paper or dyes for dyeing. “In Africa, we need to conserve land for food resources, so the thinking was to be able to use other parts of the land,” says Jonah Mwangi. With the price, we are going to acquire machines and invest in the people to operate those machines. “

The fourth winner also won 150,000 euros for his offbeat approach to clothing called Clothes that grow. The British of Petit Pli wanted to reduce the number of clothes needed to clothe a child during his first three years. “Our challenge is to change people’s approach, not to buy so many clothes for newborns. We are developing the techniques, ”emphasizes Ryan Mario Yasin. Their idea, patented, is to offer graphic clothing that adapts to the size of the child, via an ingenious pleating system.

Finally, the Le Qara team, based in Peru, also won a check for 150,000 euros for its development of an alternative to leather. called Lab Leather. Here, it is a question of biotechnology. The company thus relies on the properties of fruits and flowers to develop and create, in the laboratory from microorganisms, a material whose appearance and feel are similar to leather. The formats developed are created to meet the needs of the industry. “With the funding, we will develop samples. We have finished the prototype, we have to grow to get out of the lab format and develop collaborations with brands, ”explains Jaqueline Cruz.

The teams were able to present their projects in front of a few international figures in eco-responsibility and fashion. Stefan Persson, the chairman of the board of directors of the H&M group, was responsible for taking the selfie with the young entrepreneurs celebrating this fourth promotion at the end of the awards ceremony.

Beyond this financial support, the H&M prize is coupled with a new initiative this year with the development of crowdfunding for projects. The five winners will also benefit from a one-year support which will allow them to confront the H&M teams, but also to take them to New York and Hong Kong to discover the expectations of these markets and meet experts, including those of ‘Accenture, which is a partner of the award. A major support in the perspective of the rise of these young shoots.

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