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Let's make fashion circular

What if we could make a shift to circular fashion with no waste? What if you have the ideas to make it possible? We think you do.

The annual Global Change Award takes on one of the biggest challenges facing today’s fashion industry – to create fashion for a growing population while protecting the planet. We are looking for early stage ideas that present new circular approaches aimed to reinvent the fashion industry.

This means changing the way garments are designed and produced, shipped, bought, used and recycled, by adding disruptive technology or new business models. All with the purpose of creating a closed loop where resources are used and reused indefinitely.

“Game-changing innovation will be critical when applying circular economy principles at scale.”
Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Circular economy and circular fashion

The world is already using approximately 1.6 planet’s worth of resources every year. By 2030 we’re expecting to have a global middle-class growth of 3 billion people, which in turn is expected to grow fashion consumption by 65%. Clearly, there is an urgent opportunity to shift from “take-make-waste” production and consumption models to a model where resource loops are tightened and valuable materials are recovered. This is what we call “circular fashion”.

A circular economy is an economic model designed to eliminate waste and restore valuable resources. In this model, material flows in a circle rather than in a straight line – it efficiently recirculates the raw material and valuable resources used to produce new goods. Shifting to a circular economy could be the biggest step to modernise global production and consumption since the Industrial Revolution. In a circular economy we aim to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. Waste, as we know it, does not exist in the circular economy.

To become circular, the fashion industry must reinvent itself;

  • in how to design
  • what materials to use
  • how to dye, cut and sew
  • ship, sell, own
  • use and dispose fashion.

New technology, business models and materials can make circular fashion possible. But to do that, the fashion industry needs your ideas. By transforming to a circular model, the fashion industry will be able to produce fashion for a growing world population while operating within the planetary boundaries and ensuring a long-term viable business. A shift towards circular fashion will also bring new benefits for the industry and customers alike. Reduced material costs, access to new markets, improved customer relationships and reduced risks of resource exhaustion, are all parts of a democratized fashion world — where the clothes we wear don’t come with a planetary price tag we cannot afford.

Circular models in the fashion industry

There are several ways to embrace circularity in the fashion industry. Below are five examples of circular models:

Circular supply chain
To develop and supply renewable and/or fully recyclable input material – making the input material more sustainable and resource efficient. Curious about examples? Check out previous winners Circular systems and Green Nettle Textiles.

Sharing platform
To drive up utilisation rate of products by creating possibilities for shared use, shared access or ownership. One example here is previous winner Reverse Resources.

Product life-extension
To extend the life of textiles through repairs, maintenance, second hand, donations, etc. Two examples here are previous winners Resortecs and EON.

Product as a service
To offer product access rather than ownership.

Recovery and Recycling
To recover useful resources from disposed products and put back into production. Previous winners The Regenerator by RISE IVF and circular.fashion have different takes on this.


Global Change Award is an innovation challenge initiated by H&M Foundation, aiming to make fashion circular.
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