Contest Image

Materials Matter 2016

Proposal creation

CoLab members create proposals

Jan 15, 2016 EST - May 23, 2016 EDT
Semi-Finalist selection
Expert judges select semi-finalists

May 23, 2016 EDT - Jun 10, 2016 EDT
Proposal revisions
Semi-finalists can improve their proposals

Jun 10, 2016 EDT - Jun 19, 2016 EDT
Finalist selection
Expert judges select finalists

Jun 19, 2016 EDT - Jul 5, 2016 EDT
Voting Period
Public Voting Period

Jul 5, 2016 EDT - Jul 31, 2016 EDT
Winners are awarded

Aug 1, 2016 EDT
Fabrics and textiles impact our climate -- a lot. How can we spark a materials revolution by rethinking how we value and use them?

The materials we use to clothe ourselves and cover our things have a profound impact on the climate.  They are all around us – in the furniture we sit on, the cars we drive and the clothes we wear. The fact is, materials matter.  According to research compiled by MIT Materials System Lab, approximately 25 billion kilograms of cotton was produced worldwide in 2013, resulting in the same annual GHG emissions as 51.3 million passenger vehicles.  Enough leather is produced annually to cover the state of Maryland (double the size of the greater London area). Polyester production for use in textiles this year alone is estimated to generate as much greenhouse gas emissions as the annual emissions of 185 coal fired power plants. That’s a material issue. 

Developing new material compositions and reducing the impact of fabric production is necessary, but not sufficient to reduce the climate impact of industries that rely on fabrics. Before we can advance and scale innovation in materials, we need to build an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist. We need to redefine society's relationship with fabrics and textiles. This contest seeks novel and well thought-out ideas on how to engage industries, designers, product creators and the public in valuing, demanding and adopting lower impact materials. See our launch video here


37  Proposals

Proposal nameAuthor(s)

Wind Powered Cotton Yarn Spinning & Knit Fabric ManufacturingGuild-IRL

Utilize wind-energy to power cotton yarn-spinning-knitting technology near fiber origin regions like North Texas to reduce negative impact.

Rethinking energy sources by transforming and storing our ownSnow Unicorns

The smart shoe captures energy from movements and lets the wearer use it when accessibility to an outlet is out of the question.

nikeFIT (v. 0.1)C Barlow + T Tidwell

Making sustainability achievable on a global scale by making it experiential on a human scale.

Turn lemon peels into the materials of tomorrowPoly6 Technologies

Why reinvent the wheel? Nature has engineered remarkable materials that support modern living. Enter Poly6, enter citrus-based materials.

But are we a different Earth, and the same planet?Imperial Hemp Co.

Leveraging Nike's innovative and sustainable business model to transform global society, and unleash rhapsodic human potential.

Nike CONVERT 1.0AlBawwab & Julian

Incorporate a lock and load method for uppers and soles, enabling customers to build their shoes and maintain its quality and aesthetic.

3-D printed fashionMike Baggett

Create a mall kiosk where customers can step into a booth for measurements, select a fashion, and print out clothing.

The quintessential washReshmi Ghosh

Imperative ways to reduce the carbon footprint of washing clothes and practical solutions involving masses are discussed in this proposal.

Materials Matter: Marine Hyperloops for Humanity, the Environment, and ProfitsiWENN

Hyperloops for Humanity, the Environment, and Profits: A Mediterranean Marine Hyperloop/Refugee/Environmental Collaborative Proposal

Algae Derived Ethylene Produces HDPE Algal Bioreactors: Repeat If Necessary!iWENN

The existential need for a comprehensive global scale carbon negative infrastructure and consumer materials revolution is supported below.

Emotions matterAadhithya Sujith

An interactive awareness campaign & business model to reduce Green house emisisons and encourage people to adopt low carbon impact products.

VR product tagsAadhithya Sujith

Augmented reality tags for Nike products, scan it to educate users about the climate change concern and complete a quiz to earn discount.

Grow and Harvest FlaxHira Pant

Noble material, linen is an all natural fibre that requires no chemicals for growth or for its transformation.

Jute (Corchorus capsularis & C. olitorius)Hira Pant

The strong threads made from jute fibre are used worldwide in sackcloth - and help sustain the livelihoods of millions of small farmers.

Hemp is the most Economical TextileAurora Nguyen

Growing HempNaresh Bhatt

Easy to grow without agrochemicals, hemp is used increasingly in agrotextiles, car panels and fibreboard, and "cottonized" for clothing.



A Carbon Neutral Inivitive to Encourage Low-Carbon Materials and More!CCC

CarbonNeutralCheckout™ is designed by CCC to assist organizations in reducing the carbon footprint of the products and services they sell.

The HempNet - Enable ease of access to alternative materials!AFMPPA

Utilize relationships with industry inflencers to build a social network enabling painless and economical access to alternative materials.

Water hyacinth for organic textile fibre synthesis and treatment of dye effleuntEvans Nangulu

The proposal envisage utilization of water hyacinth for textile organic fibre sythesis and its utilization in the treatment of dye effluent.

A Sustainable Design Canvas: Systems thinking and new business modelsAndrea L & Anika K

Reign & Co. is built on a holistic sustainable design process, where products and services are created within a closed-loop system.

Bamboo ForestsJane Muthee


Promoting the use of cloth napkins as opposed to paper napkinsRishit Shah


Creating one product completely without composites will dramatically reduce the recycling cost of current multi-material products.

Microbes that eat polyester and make chemiclasAkshay Sethi

We make microbes that convert post-consumer polyester back into their raw materials. Same raw materials can be used to make new polyester.

Solar Powered Temperature Controlled Fabrics, InsolesGuy Madrid

To reduce heat/ and cold, inflammation and recovery time. Controlling power usage at home and maintaining an overall sense of well being

Ocean Floor Algae Fabric Production SystemRobert Tulip

Use pressure and heat at deep ocean floor to transform algae biomass into hydrocarbon-based fabrics at industrial scale.