H&M Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the Swedish fashion giant H&M, has launched a new virtual fashion collection featuring ten startups and their sustainable fashion designs. The Billion Dollar Collection also shows the estimated price tag that the selected Global Change Award winners believe they’ll need to scale up and “truly change the fashion industry beyond capsule collections and pilots”.
Ten companies and their sustainable fashion solutions are being showcased at the online Billion Dollar Collection, each of them previous winners of the H&M Foundation’s Global Change Awards since 2015. Beyond showing their innovative designs, from novel biomaterials to traceability technologies, the virtual collection also features the price tag that each company believes they will need to support their scale-up plans to make a real impact on the global fashion industry and its currently outsized contribution to waste and climate change.
Biodegradable and renewable algae-based thread maker Algaeing, for instance, estimates that they will need around US$5 million in support to scale to 15,000 metric tons of textiles, which could help them save as much as 2,700 million litres of polluted water each year – the equivalent of the water used to produce 1 million cotton tees.
Fairbrics, on the other hand, is looking for around US$6.6 million to help scale their polyester yarn solution that creates a net positive impact on the climate by capturing carbon from industrial sources. Fuelled by this funding, they could ramp up production to 500,000 metric tons of fabric, which would translate to a reduction of 720,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually by 2030.
“We have worked with innovators for many years now and their biggest hurdle to realize their ideas is funding and support to build scalable technology solutions. They also need collaboration partners like fashion brands and suppliers,” commented Diana Amini, global manager of H&M Foundation, about the launch of the Billion Dollar Collection.
“With this campaign we want to create awareness of the impact sustainable innovation can achieve if given the opportunity to grow. Together, we can create a shift in the fashion industry where sustainability and innovation are implemented as default practice.”
Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and Chairman of H&M Group, added that with the fashion industry dumpling one truckload of textiles every second and contributing as much as 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, it’s never been more “crucial to support sustainable innovation if fashion is going to make the shift to a more sustainable industry,” adding that the collection represents an “untapped opportunity”.
We have worked with innovators for many years now and their biggest hurdle to realize their ideas is funding and support to build scalable technology solutions.Diana Amini, Global Manager, H&M Foundation
These new innovations can deliver value across multiple dimensions including sustainability – and move past narrowly defined views of value.Jill Standish, Senior Managing Director & Global Retail Industry Group Lead, Accenture
The clothing itself that visitors can view on the collection’s websites were developed by Accenture’s character design tech Mackevision, which has created a “unique digital avatar from scratch” to bring the details of each startups’ solutions to life in a series of computer-generated imagery.
Accenture’s senior managing director and global retail industry group lead Jill Standish believes that helping to visualise these sustainable startups’ solutions to fashion will help people understand how each of them has potential to create multi-dimensional value across the supply chain, as long as they receive adequate support from industry and investors.
“The Billion Dollar Collection presents a unique opportunity to help the fashion industry reinvent itself through sustainable innovations that can fuel future growth and bring positive change,” said Standish.
“By adopting our 360-degree value approach for this collection, we are demonstrating how these new innovations can deliver value across multiple dimensions including sustainability – and move past narrowly defined views of value.”
Lead image courtesy of H&M Foundation.