— We’re searching for early-stage innovations that can accelerate the shift in the fashion industry from a linear to a planet positive one, Brook explains. This means changing how raw material is produced, how energy is used, and the way garments are currently designed, produced, used, and recycled by adding disruptive technology, processes, or new business models.
The pandemic, Brook continues, made the organization pause everything, to think about how they could develop the award.
— We’ve also changed the scope for the entire Global Change Award. We were previously looking for ideas that can make the fashion industry circular, but this year we have raised the bar and are now looking for solutions that can address one or several global commons — land, water, oceans, climate, and biodiversity. We believe this broader scope will lead to a true shift for the fashion industry which is also something you will see in our new winners.
Yes, can you tell us about this year’s five selected startups?
— They represent various innovations in different parts of the value chain.
– BioPuff by saltyco (UK). A planet positive alternative to goose down, crafted from plants that heal damaged land.
– BIORESTORE (Sweden). A laundry solution that restores old and worn garments to mint condition.
– Re:lastane (China). The first mild process making elastane and polyester blend fabrics recyclable.
– Rubi (US). Planet positive viscose and lyocell made from carbon emissions.
— None of these innovations is on the market yet but I’m positive that with the right support, we will see some of them on the market soon! Brook says.
In addition to the grant of 1 million euros the winners share, they also get access to the one-year-long Impact Accelerator, provided by Global Change Award together with Accenture, KTH, and The Mills Fabrica.
— We have already started the first meetings digitally and all winners, as well as GCA alumni teams, will come to Stockholm in June for an intense accelerator week. This is where the magic happens — when we finally meet! The GCA alumni network is very valuable, it’s a safe environment where the teams can share, support and learn from each other, and we are still in contact with the winners from the first year. One of the most exciting parts of my job is to follow the GCA teams’ journey. Since 2016 we have supported over 30 teams and seeing them succeed, scale, and transform the fashion industry is makes me really proud and hopeful for the future. There is no lack of disruptive innovations out there — they just need some help to scale. We hope to speed up their process by supporting them in any way that we can so that these amazing innovations become available to the wider market and help transform the fashion industry into a planet positive one, Brook concludes.