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Care What You Wear

5 Innovations That Could Help Make Fast Fashion More Sustainable

From dissolving fabric to clothes made from algae, the winners of this year’s Global Change award are trying to plot a new way forward for a fashion industry that’s been too focused on disposable clothing.

If a shirt or dress made with a new type of thread is heated to a certain temperature (266 degrees, hot enough to melt some types of plastic), the thread will dissolve, making zippers and buttons fall off, and the fabric can be used again. It’s one step in making clothing more recyclable: Right now, disassembling a garment is so labor-intensive that it rarely happens.

The thread, called Smart Stitch, is one of five early-stage designs to win the 2018 Global Change Award, a competition sponsored by the philanthropic arm of Swedish fast-fashion empire H&M, which aims to help the fashion industry shift from the standard linear model–where clothes often end up in the landfill–to a circular model, where materials can be reused or composted. 

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