When we – an eco-friendly outdoor textile start-up called Dimpora - applied for the H&M Foundation’s “Global Change Award”, we did it with little hope of a positive outcome. It came as a real surprise to be included in the top 20 finalists. We thought our solution to create a functional and fluorine-free textile membrane that keeps the body dry while enjoying activities in nature might be perceived as too scientific or “only” for the outdoor textile industry – to warrant a fashion award. Sometimes it feels really good to be wrong!
Following our Skype interview with the H&M Foundation, we were not completely surprised that Dimpora was listed among the top 15 finalists for an award that focuses on sustainable fashion. The next step; however, was entirely out with our control as the final decision was up to a jury of industry veterans and trend-setters. At this point we were just hoping that people wanted to see a sustainable innovation in the outdoor textile membrane field.
On the 31st of January, we continually refreshed our emails until about 7pm when we received a message that the H&M Foundation needed another call with us for more info! Check out the video of our Skype call to see the look on our faces when we were informed that we were among the top 5 winners of H&M’s Global Change Award!
What a surprise! dimpora took 2nd place and a prize that includes connections to H&M Group and the fashion world, a 3-week trip around the planet, 250’000 EUR – a dream sum for biodegradable outdoor clothing. Needless to say, we were over the moon and couldn’t stop smiling for about 3 days.
Can you believe we had to keep the good news a complete secret until the big award night? Anna asked, “Can I tell my Mom?” Erik Bangs answer, “Ehm.. No!”
The award ceremony and following dinner took place on 3rd of April 2019 in the Stockholm Town Hall’s Blue and Golden halls, where the Nobel Prize Laureates celebrate their success, there was a dinner and dance. We even had the same dessert as last year’s Laureates winners (unfortunately not the best one)! Nobody knew that we were winners in the crowd and it was kind of funny to sit down in the middle of the audience and be called out to receive our prize.
Everybody took a lot of pictures:
We got to meet the 2nd generation of the H&M Founders Family. Stefan Persson, a kind man talented at the selfie stick, told us the story of growing H&M into the USA. The first store opened in the 5th avenue in New York with an unexpected blockbuster success and his father was still here to celebrate. (photo credit: Anna Beltzung/ETH Zurich)
About the authors
Anna Beltzung studied chemical and bioengineering at ETH Zurich. After her Master, she joined the group of Prof. Massimo Morbidelli for a doctoral thesis. During this time, she was working on nanocomposite and porous polymers. She graduated in December 2017 and is involved with dimpora since May 2018.
Mario Stucki studied chemical and bioengineering at ETH Zurich. After his Master, he joined the Functional Material Laboratory of Prof. Wendelin Stark for a doctoral thesis. During this time, he developed and patented the functional membrane together with the template removal method. He graduated in September 2017 and is involved with dimpora since then.