The fashion industry produces 4% of all greenhouse gasses globally – equivalent to the annual emissions of France, Germany and the UK combined (Source: McKinsey). The sector needs revolutionary change – but it also needs to plug a massive funding gap to achieve it.
Yet the innovations needed for sustainable transformation already exist – they just require investment. Unfortunately, their industry profile is low: These are not fashion businesses but small, high-tech industrial plants in small corners of the world, innovating materials (cotton-like textiles from seaweed; vegan leather from winemaking leftovers) or novel manufacturing techniques (e.g., eliminating wastewater in factory production). ‘
If we can help these businesses scale up and become viable options for large scale fashion brands, we can help the industry change.
We identified 10 emerging start-ups and presented them and their solution to the world in the form of a fashion collection. This became the Billion Dollar Collection. A virtual clothing collection where each piece isn’t a garment you can buy, but an investment you can back.
The media campaign generated universally favorable coverage (81% strongly so) for both the concept and H&M Foundation in 23 countries with an earned reach of 94M, including both dailies and key fashion titles.
Coverage was most prominent in the markets we needed to hit to promote fashion reform (UK and US).
Then the feedback began coming in from our start-ups: Investors were reaching out, mentioning the lookbook. As a direct result, one start-up was able to close its €4.6 million funding round, and immediately begin scaling up its technology. Others are currently in negotiations and have been using our assets directly in meetings with suppliers, investors and brands.
The collection was only intended as a one-off project, but H&M Foundation will now continue the project making it an ongoing living project.