Jun 10, 2021
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H&M Foundation launches virtual collection to help fund innovative start-ups

Jun 10, 2021

An interesting development from H&M. The Swedish fashion retail giant said on Thursday that the non-profit H&M Foundation has launched a “virtual collection designed to make the planet last”.

H&M Foundation

It's actually a fundraising pitch for a number of start-ups with the company saying that the Billion Dollar Collection, presents 10 "innovative sustainable start-ups that could change the face of the fashion industry”.

Showcased as garments in a virtual fashion collection, each start-up has a price tag “reflecting the estimated support each company believes they need to achieve scale for their disruptive innovations”.

The H&M Foundation has been supporting early-stage innovation since 2015 through its Global Change Award and with consumers today demanding sustainable fashion more than ever, that goal of offering support remains key. But it said that while “fashion companies are talking about transformation, many start-ups struggle to receive the necessary support to bring their ideas to the scale required to truly change the fashion industry beyond capsule collections and pilots”.

It added that it’s been estimated that “billions of dollars are needed to change the fashion industry and the virtual Billion Dollar Collection’ highlights 10 previous Global Change Award winners with potential to create multi-dimensional value with the industry’s support”.

Diana Amini, Global Manager of the H&M Foundation, said the biggest hurdle for many innovators “to realise their ideas is funding and support to build scalable technology solutions. They also need collaboration partners like fashion brands and suppliers. 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. The time is now”.

The 10 innovations selected come from across the globe and “encompass elements from materials to traceability. The collection — characterised by asymmetrical details, trinket-like finishing, non-standard colours and bold volumes – has been exclusively created in computer-generated imagery”. And the Foundation said that “if the fashion industry and its communities, embrace these 10 disruptive innovations, this collection could become reality and be produced at scale”.

The news came on the same day that H&M Group said it’s joining the EU Commission’s Green Consumption Pledge Initiative and is “on a mission to become climate positive by 2040”.

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