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GCA 2022: 5 innovations transforming fashion

Meet the mind-blowing materials, technologies and solutions paving the way to a new era in fashion.

Impossible materials, ground-breaking recycling techniques and disruptive supply chain solutions. The latest instalment of H&M Foundation’s annual Global Change Award has just revealed its 2022 winners. And claiming that they’re only ground-breaking may actually come off as an understatement.

As the first — and most prominent — innovation challenge of its kind, the GCA has made many of the fashion industry’s most buzzed-about and coveted new materials famous. It has supported revolutionary technologies to scale for impact and become available to industry leaders and shoppers alike.

“The winners of the Global Change Award hold the key to the complex challenges we are facing and prove that it’s possible to reinvent fashion. Their game-changing innovations are really inspiring and can help transform the fashion industry into a planet positive one,” says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and Chairman of H&M Group.

In the spring of 2022, a new set of innovations stand on the frontier of circular fashion. H&M Magazine gives you the lowdown on the solutions powerful enough to future-proof the entire fashion industry.

RUBI

Rubi manufactures a viscose made of carbon emissions captured from the air. It’s finished fabric is carbon-negative and consumes virtually no water, no chemicals, no land, and produces no waste.

BIORESTORE

BIORESTORE is a laundry solution that restores old and worn garments to mint condition. Made of enzymes and minerals, it reacts with water and cellulose fibres and launches a biochemical reaction that removes hairiness, tightens threads and improves colour brilliance.

BIOPUFF BY SALTYCO

Saltyco uses regenerative agriculture that rewets and re-grows native plants to peatlands across the planet. From the plants, they create a vegan alternative to goose down and synthetic fillers that’s warm, water-repellent and light-weight.

COTTONACE BY WADHWANI AI

CottonAce is an AI solution that reduces pesticide use, increases yield and raises incomes for smallholder cotton farmers. The app offers real-time guidance and recommendations to cotton farmers that target pests at the right time and with the most effective measures.

RE:LASTANE

Re:lastane is the first mild process making elastane and polyester blend fabrics recyclable. It doesn’t just give us the possibility to recycle more of our clothes, its process is water-free and effectively reduces the industry’s need to produce virgin elastane.

 

Jaw-dropping, yes? We know. And the best part is that these Sci-Fi-esque innovations work — and exist.

Aside from sharing a grant of €1,000,000, each team of scientists and entrepreneurs are venturing into the year-long GCA Impact Accelerator programme. A programme designed to meet the needs of each team, connect them to industry leaders and fast-track their development. The end goal? To transform fashion and turn it into a planet positive industry — meaning an industry that benefits the planet, its resources and us humans living on it.

Learn more about this year’s winners and the 30 previous GCA winners that are already transforming every step of the fashion planetary footprint.

H&M FOUNDATION

H&M Foundation is a non-profit foundation initiated to co-create, fund and share solutions for the world’s most urgent challenges. Sprung from H&M’s entrepreneurial heritage, it’s at the Foundation’s core to disrupt traditional systems through unexpected collaborations. To help safeguard the welfare of humanity, the H&M Foundation is ushering the fashion industry to become planet positive and accelerate the development of inclusive societies.

5 PAST GCA WINNERS AVAILABLE IN STORES

VEGEA (GCA 2017): A vegan leather crafted from leftovers from the wine industry. Already, H&M has retailed sneakers, bags, trousers and coats made of the material.

CIRCULAR SYSTEMS (GCA 2017): Bio-textiles made of leftovers from food crop harvest. 

CIRCULAR.FASHION (GCA 2017): A digital solution changing how garments are made, used and disposed. Instrumental in developing H&M Group’s circular design tool Circulator.

RESORTECS (GCA 2018): A dissolvable stitch that makes repairing and recycling easy. 

ORANGE FIBER (GCA 2016): A silk-like fabric crafted from juice production leftovers. Used in H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection.