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#OrangeFiber: the Italian Winner of the #GlobalChangeAward

The world needs bold ideas closing the loop for fashion!

On 10 February, HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden awarded the winners of the first GlobalChange Award, an annual innovation challenge for circular fashion initiated by the non-profit H&MConscious Foundation. Most votes, and a grant of 300,000, were awarded to the Finnish team behind Making waste-cotton new; conversion of waste-cotton into new textile. To further accelerate the transformation towards a circular fashion industry, the Foundation now launches the Global Change Award Network, an open-source database for innovations.
The Global Change Award was introduced in August 2015 by the non-profit H&M Conscious Foundation. Between 25 August and 31 October the challenge was open for anyone to apply. Over 2,700 innovators from 112 countries contributed. The H&M Conscious Foundation reviewed the applications with the help of innovation collaborators KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Accenture and the Expert jury. The five ideas considered to have most potential in helping close the loop for fashion was selected as winners.
The online vote was held 1-7 February and the results are:
n1. Making waste-cotton new - conversion of waste-cotton into new textile. Innovation team lead: Michael Hummel, Finland. (31% of the votes)
n2. The polyester digester - using microbes to recycle waste polyester textile. Innovation team lead: Akshay Sethi, U.S. (22% of the votes)
n3. An online market for textile leftovers - a marketplace for industrial upcycling of spill in production. Innovation team lead: Ann Runnel, Estonia. (18% of the votes)
n4. 100 percent citrus - creating new textile out of citrus juice production by-products. Innovation team lead: Enrica Arena, Italy. (15% of the votes)
n5. Growing textile fibre under water - utilizing algae to make renewable textile. Innovator: Tjeerd Veenhoven, the Netherlands. (14% of the votes)

“This prestigious grant will allow us to lift our technology closer to an industrially viable level. Now we will focus on the further development of technical details, in particular the solvent recovery to ensure economic competitiveness and complete environmental friendliness of our process, says Michael Hummel, spokesperson for the Finnish team behind Making waste-cotton new - conversion of waste-cotton into new textile.
Inspired by the response from the global innovation community, and to spark impact beyond the five winners, the Foundation now launches the Global Change Award Network, a public digital space where teams and ideas can grow.
“When the application period closed, we sat with thousands of amazing ideas. So we decided to create the Global Change Award Network. You can look at it as a matchmaking site, where innovators can present their ideas, get feedback, make contacts and maybe investors can even find the next big thing. A digital greenhouse for innovative ideas,” says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of the H&M Conscious Foundation and CEO of H&M.
The award ceremony on 10 February marked the beginning of a one year innovation accelerator, provided by H&M Conscious Foundation, Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. The program will help the winners develop their ideas, focusing on three main areas; circular economy, innovation and fashion industry connection.
“The level of innovation that we have seen throughout this process is truly inspiring and we aim to advance the strategic business growth of the five Global Change Award winners by guiding and coaching them through the Innovation Accelerator to develop their ideas further”, says Jennie Perzon Strategy Program Lead, Accenture.
“For KTH, it is a matter of both urgency and privilege to be a partner to Global Change Award, as we are facing extreme environmental challenges. Supporting this effort and being part of a better future is the obvious course for KTH to take. We are excited to kick off the accelerator program and get to know the five winning innovators,” says Lisa Ericsson, Head of KTH Innovation. 

OrangeFiber is the Italian winner of the GlobalChangeAward2015
100 percent citrus: Creating new textile out of citrus juice production by-products.
There is an increasing demand for sustainable textiles. Using by-products from citrus juice production, instead of growing a dedicated crop, creates an opportunity to produce more sustainable textiles. The yarn produced from the by-products can be used to create different types of textiles and addresses the demand for high quality sustainable textiles. Since the process uses resources and materials already produced it improves the environmental impact related to industrial waste, while extracting a raw material fitting for spinning new yarn.
The first industrial prototypes have been developed, and research and further development is now needed to begin replicating the process in other regions around the world where citrus juice is being produced.
Originating from Sicily, Adriana came up with the idea as a fashion design student. She later teamed up with Enrica and together they started develop the concept and build a team around it. Their testing is conducted in Catania on Sicily and they have their office is in Milan. They currently make samples and small volumes of fabrics but look to scale up, improve their process and ultimately get their fabric into stores.