From food crops, smart stitches and 3D-modelled clothes, to advanced recycling processes and biodegradable clothes with health benefits.

On March 20, five innovations that can help speed up the shift to a circular waste-free fashion industry and protect the planet were awarded the third Global Change Award, sharing a 1 million euro grant from the non-profit H&M Foundation.

American textile brand Crop-A-Porter came away with the largest grant, 300,000 Euros, allowing them to scale their operations and unlock huge value for the textile and fashion industry.
 
 
Growing textile fiber affects the planet and growing food crops generates millions of tons of plant waste. Harvest leftovers from crops such as oil seed, flax, sugar canes, bananas and pineapples are usually just burnt or left to rot, releasing carbon dioxide and methane gas into the atmosphere. Crop-A-Porta changes this by turning the waste into bio fiber this low-cost closed-loop technology also brings additional income to the farmer. The bio fiber can then be turned into fabrics, resulting in a new sustainable material ready to take the fashion world by storm. 
 
The annual challenge is looking for tomorrow’s game changers, and the third edition attracted 2,600 entries from 151 countries – a truly global and strong movement to create a fashion industry operating within the planetary boundaries. Looking at all entries this year, they provided strong engagement in digitalization, smart processes, and some new and unexpected materials.
 
“The Agraloop will kick-off a new paradigm for natural fiber by levering food crop waste for textile fiber production. We seek to help our industry begin to decouple from cotton as the world’s dominant natural fiber resource,” says Isaac Nichelson spokesperson for Crop-A-Porter. 
 
Besides innovations with potential to have a positive impact on the industry and planet, the Global Change Award is looking for scalability, that the idea is economically sustainable and novel and how well suited the team is to make a difference.
 
Other winners, who received between 150,000 Euros and 250,000 Euros, were  The RegeneratorSweden, Algae ApparelIsrael, Smart StichBelgium and Fungi Fashion, The Netherlands.
 
“The winners show that innovation knows no national borders and can rest in anyone’s head, said Karl-Johan Persson, a board member of the H&M Foundation. “This day marks the start of a one-year innovation accelerator where H&M Foundation, Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm will support the winners to cut years off their timeline, bringing them to fashion and innovation hubs such as StockholmNew York and Shanghai.”
 
The Global Change Award has become the hotspot for early-stage fashion innovation, and today a Trend report is released by Accenture and the H&M Foundation to share lessons learned, findings and trends within circular fashion and open innovation based on analytics performed on the thousands of applications submitted.