Home NEWS Rethread Africa wins Ksh 34M in prestigious global award

Rethread Africa wins Ksh 34M in prestigious global award

This is the second time a Kenyan-based innovation has won the award, Green-Nettle Textile was among the winners for 2019.

Kenyan-based company, Rethread Africa, is among 10 winners of the 2023 Global Change Award, known as the Nobel Prize of fashion.

They were among 10 global innovations that won €200.000 (over Ksh 34M) each to support their development in making the fashion industry planet positive.

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Rethread Africa’s submission showcased how bio-based synthetics can be extracted from a variety of raw materials. By turning waste from sugar and corn production into bio-based synthetics, this innovative material uses far fewer resources while upholding the same qualities as petrol-based alternatives. These textiles naturally decompose if discarded.

This development reinforces the growing trend of sustainable fashion in Kenya where the Ministry of Environment estimates that the country generates approximately 22,000 tons of textile waste each year.

In 2019, the government launched the National Textile Policy, which aimed to boost the local production of textiles and garments using sustainable practices.  According to a survey conducted by the Sustainable Inclusive Business (SIB) program, 60 percent of Kenyans believe that sustainable fashion is important.

“Over the next 12 months, we hope to get our fabric into the hands of fashion designers, creatives, and brands. We want to get our fabric past the R&D phase and into textile stores at a comparable quality, if not better, than petrol-based synthetics. To do this, we hope to increase the impact we have on smallholder farmers and expand the farmer base beyond Kenya.” Says Charles Oyamo, CEO of Rethread Africa.

Karl-Johan Persson, H&M Foundation board member, commented “We have an urgent opportunity to support innovations that could transform the entire fashion industry – that’s why we’re doubling the grant and the number of winners. We’re giving these innovators a total of 2 million euros and access to our accelerator program – but we’re also giving the industry an opportunity to connect with these brilliant innovators. I’m excited to see the impact these innovators will make on the industry.”

Christiane Dolva, Strategy Lead H&M Foundation, added “There’s a wide range of solutions among this year’s winners. If scaled, I believe they could have a real impact on the industry – which needs a holistic transformation if we are to reach a planet positive fashion future. We look forward to working with the winners during the accelerator and help enable their innovations to accelerate and scale.”

Initiated and launched in 2015 by H&M Foundation as the first innovation challenge of its kind, the Global Change Award is a global innovation challenge seeking bright minds that can reinvent fashion and change the way it is seen, worn, and made.

Over 35 innovations have received a combined grant of 7 million euros and become key members of GCA Alumni, a valuable network for connection and collaboration, supported by H&M Foundation and its partners.

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