05/09/2013 02:45 pm ET

Nike, NASA 'Launch' Challenge Calls For Self-Healing Fabrics

A powerful group of innovators is focusing its 2013 yearly innovation challenge on changing the global clothing industry for the better.

Nike, NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department are putting a call out for ideas that disrupt they way we think about fabrics.

According to the website for the challenge, called Launch Systems 2013, the partners are seeking concepts that are more sustainable and creative, from technical clothing with "surprising attributes" to new ways to trace a product across its life cycle. Individuals and teams are asked to think of ways to create materials that are self-healing (clothes that can fix themselves), eliminate toxins and enable recycling, among other innovations.

In August, the organizations will pick the ten best ideas, and the inventors will take part in an immersive program centered around the innovations, including networking options and product development.

"Now is the time for big, bold solutions," Nike President and CEO Mark Parker said of the project in April. "Incremental change won’t get us where we need to go fast enough or at a scale that makes a difference."

In 2010, 150 billion garments were produced globally, according to a Nike release. By 2015, the apparel industry worldwide is projected to produce more than 400 billion square meters of fabric annually -- enough to cover all of California.

The organizations began the LAUNCH collaboration in 2010 and hold a series of meetings and events throughout the year addressing "urgent challenges facing our society."



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