Producing a purse made out of grape skin and a scarf made from orange peels, H&M, a multinational clothing-retail company, is leading the way in bringing sustainability and innovation to the fashion industry.
Erik Bang, innovation lead at the H&M Foundation, is part of this fascinating trend in the fashion industry and came to speak with students in Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Cinzia Fissore’s class.
Fissore’s course focuses on pressing environmental and social issues pertaining to sustainable use of resources. Bang explained how the foundation is working on innovative ways of recycling materials and making sustainable fashion pieces.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to be able to hear from someone who is directly involved in implementing innovative sustainable practices,” said Fissore. “While the readings and class discussion allow students to learn and discuss issues and opportunities related to sustainability, meeting a young professional who is actually putting these concepts into practice is a unique and valuable experience.”
Bang also talked about the H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award, which looks for groundbreaking innovation to help reinvent fashion and make the industry circular. The global awards select five annual winners a share of $1 million euro and the opportunity to participate in a one-year accelerator program to bring their ideas to life. Bang encouraged students to apply for the program. “Don’t be shy,” he told the students. “Challenge. That’s where we get good ideas.”