The fashion industry has gotten a bad rap for its harmful impacts on the environment. Not only is it a major contributor to the carbon footprint, it also is the world’s second largest polluter of local fresh water. Basically, if you’re the type of person who wears clothes, then you may not be as environmentally conscious as you think.
Fortunately, entrepreneurs around the world are coming together to tackle this problem. Since 2015, the H&M Foundation has held the Global Change Award (a.k.a. “the Nobel Prize of fashion”) to provide sustainable fashion entrepreneurs with the resources they need to take their products to market. The prestigious award attracts thousands of applicants, and five winners are selected to share €1 million in grants along with other perks.
This year, Indiegogo launched an initiative with the H&M Foundation to sweeten the deal. All winning companies were able to use Indiegogo’s crowdfunding platform to help launch their businesses as soon as possible—and to connect with potential customers right away.
The 2019 Global Change Award attracted an awe-inspiring cast of entrepreneurs and fashion industry leaders. The expert panel included Steven Kolb, president and CEO of The Council of Fashion and Design of America; Bandana Tewari, Former Editor-at-Large at Vogue India and contributor to The Business of Fashion; and Edwin Keh, CEH of The Hong Kong Institute of Textiles and Apparel. Also present at the event were Indiegogo’s very own Sarah Meister, Hardware Design and Technology Growth Manager, and Adeeti Goswami, Senior Campaign Strategist.
The true stars of the event, of course, were the entrepreneurs, known to the H&M Foundation as the “heroes” for the positive impact they will have on the planet.
Indiegogo is excited to highlight each of this year’s heroes below. If you see an innovation you like, you can help make it an even bigger success by visiting the entrepreneur’s Indiegogo campaign and becoming a backer. It’s a great opportunity to participate in the global revolution in sustainable, eco-friendly fashion.
2019 Global Change Award Winners
In Kenya, the soil is thin, the hills are often too steep for machines, and irrigation can be a challenge. So, how do you grow local materials for fabric?
The answer is to use plants that grow naturally in the region and don’t require any fancy agricultural techniques. In Kenya’s case, that means stinging nettles, which grow like weeds and are considered a serious nuisance.
Green Nettle Textiles has developed an innovative eco-fabric using local nettles. The resulting material has a linen-like quality and can be used for all varieties of clothing. Bonus: turning nettles into textiles can provide thousands of jobs to farmers across Kenya, and can employ artisans around the globe.
By backing this campaign, you can receive perks, including a green nettle hair clip or hair band, a kids poncho, a bed throw, or an eco-friendly blanket.
Not surprisingly, traditional leather production is harmful to the environment (as well as animals). Each year, leather production requires 400 billion gallons of water and releases toxins and heavy metals into the environment.
Le Qara set about finding an alternative, ultimately creating a vegan, eco-friendly bioleather made from Peruvian plants and fruits. The innovative material not only has the toughness of animal leather, but also the texture and color. Since it is 100% biodegradable, used products can be recycled and turned into liquid compost.
The fashionable perks available to supporters of this campaign include a bioleather card holder, a silver-plated ring or bracelet, or bioleather earrings.
How often do you buy your child a pair of clothes that are only worn once or twice before being discarded? What if you could buy a pair of clothes that would grow with your child? That may sound like magic, but it’s actually a reality, thanks to the London-based entrepreneurs at Petit Pli.
Founded by aeronautical engineer Ryan Mario Yasin, Petit Pli clothes are a serious feat of ingenuity. The colorful, origami-and-aerospace-engineering-inspired material is waterproof, windproof, breathable, and durable enough to survive years of growth-spurts and playground antics.
One suit of clothes can fit your child from nine months to age four. That means more than two years of being good to the environment while saving on clothing expenses.
Perks available to supporters of this campaign include the award-winning suits, available in black, green, and blue.
Used clothing materials are rarely recycled into new clothes. If the fashion industry is ever going to be sustainable, this is a problem that needs to be addressed. The Berlin-based company circular.fashion may just have the perfect solution.
The company’s digital platform allows clothing to be tracked “from sketch to scrap.” In other words, an article of clothing can be traced throughout its life cycle by material suppliers, clothing brands, consumers, and recyclers. This new level of transparency could make a serious difference in the amount of waste created by the fashion industry, and it could also curb the industry’s contribution to water and air pollution.
Find out more by supporting this campaign today. Supporters can select from a number of perks, including a Circular T-Shirt, a Circular Design Kit, and a one-year membership. There are also 50 spots available for a workshop in Amsterdam/Berlin and New York.
Quality outdoor wear is often distinguished as being simultaneously waterproof and breathable. Unfortunately, this technology comes at a cost to the environment. After washing your outdoor wear, or after exposing it to normal wear and tear, it could be releasing microplastics and non-degradable carcinogenic toxins into the environment.
Sane Membrane, created by Zurich-based dimpora, is the non-toxic alternative. This mineral-based membrane does not contain fluorine and can be made to be biodegradable. Thanks to advanced technology resulting from five years of research, the product still keeps your clothes dry and warm as effectively as toxic products. With Sane Membrane, you can enjoy your active lifestyle without inadvertently causing harm to the great outdoors.
Want to meet the innovative scientists behind dimpora? By supporting their campaign, you can! Backers can also select from perks such a sustainable shopping bag, dimpora’s Merino Cap, and even a weekend trip in the Alps.
The Future of Sustainable Fashion
“The winners of the Global Change Award prove that it’s possible to improve the environmental impact of the fashion industry. They are a true inspiration and great partners to any fashion company that wants to contribute to protecting the planet and our living conditions. The initiative with Indiegogo adds an important piece as it also enables the public to be at the very heart of finding and funding a future for sustainable style.”
– Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and CEO of H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB.
After the success of 2019’s Global Change Award, Indiegogo is excited to help future campaigns in sustainable fashion succeed. So look out for future collaborations between Indiegogo and H&M.
In the meantime, there’s no shortage of incredible innovation happening in the world of sustainable fashion. Support your favorite eco-friendly campaigns today on Indiegogo.