The H&M Foundation has awarded the top prize for the second edition of its Global Change Award to the makers of an innovative animal leather dubbed Grape Leather, which is made exclusively by using leftovers from winemaking.
The initiative, launched in 2015 by the non-profit arm of Swedish retail giant H&M, aims to reward technological concepts that make the fashion industry more sustainable.
Following an online vote, a grant of one million euros was split between a total of five winners, with the ranking of the prizes determined by the number of votes.
Grape Leather received the greatest number of public votes and was awarded the top prize of 300,000 euros at a ceremony in Stockholm.
Rossella Longobardo, leader of the team that developed the invention, commented: ”We are deeply pleased that such a prestigious foundation has recognized the value of our innovation, and that it strongly believed in it. Our first objective will be to focus in the transition from a pilot project to an industrial-scale production of our fabric and, in this way, start a green, cruelty-free revolution within the leather goods industry.”
The remaining grant funds will be split between the other four winners, which include a biodegradable textile made from cow manure; denim dyed using a coloring powder derived from used denim; decomposable nylon made from water, plant waste and solar energy instead of oil, and a digital thread that facilitates recycling.
“The attention of consumers towards more sustainable products requires reviewing and redesigning the entire chain of value in fashion. The Global Change Award is the first initiative of its kind in the fashion world,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director of Accenture’s Retail.
Ilona Catani Scarlett