H&M Foundation and its partners, KTH and Accenture, are helping to make the fashion industry more sustainable. Shifting to a circular economy presents a paradigm change for the industry—modernizing fashion’s global production and consumption in a way unseen since the Industrial Revolution. With H&M Foundation’s help and direction, fashion start-ups in the circular economy are acquiring the knowledge and skills to develop and scale their ideas into fully fledged businesses. The award program helps the winners to accelerate results and make a lasting change on the industry—and the world.
Creating more sustainable fashion is helping to attract future customers and employees who increasingly demand greater transparency and clothes with a conscience. The shift toward circular fashion is bringing new benefits for the industry, such as reduced material costs, improved customer relationships and reduced risk of resource exhaustion. Together, the H&M Foundation, KTH and Accenture are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible by nurturing green, disruptive ideas and technology that will shape the future of fashion.
Selected success stories
The 2016 winner, Orange Fiber, worked with Accenture and other partners in the accelerator to learn how to move from a small start-up with lab production to scale its business model and marketing to meet demand. Orange Fiber repurposes leftovers from citrus fruit production to create a silk-like, biodegradable fiber with fantastic sturdiness, shine and drape. Since working with H&M Foundation, KTH and Accenture, the Salvatore Ferragamo group launched a capsule collection using Orange Fiber fabric.
One of the 2017 winners, EON-ID, creates tiny RFID threads with a digitalized “ingredients list.” The threads, which can be sewn into garments, aim to make the recycling process more efficient and less wasteful by proactively identifying the garment’s materials. The Global Change Award helped the team move beyond proof of concept to commercialized technology, as well as build partnerships with large global brands that are purchasing and introducing EON-ID RFID Thread technology into their value chains. Just one year later, the company has moved from having five sample threads to producing significant amounts.