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Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter Features The Material Innovator Awards

With Los Angeles County announcing that stay-at-home orders likely will stay in place into summer 2020, many people are continuing to get creative with their time in lockdown, from knitting and whittling to recreating famous artworks. Now there’s a contest to celebrate folks who are thinking up interesting new uses for everyday household items.

Launched by vegan leather bags and accessories company Von Holzhausen, it’s called the Material Innovator Challenge. “Have you recently turned a wine bottle into a rolling pin/arm weight/best friend? Cans into hair rollers? Beans into breakfast, lunch and dinner? Just about anything into a face mask? Then that is a material innovation” reads the description for the competition, which has enlisted a panel of judges that includes stylist Karla Welch (who dresses actresses Ana de Armas and Kaitlyn Dever); Oscar-winning editor Angus Wall (The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo); and zero-waste lifestyle guru Lauren Singer of the blog Trash Is for Tossers.

“We feel the world needs these kinds of innovations and one of my personal goals is to not create new materials,” says Von Holzhausen founder Vicki von Holzhausen, a former automotive designer who has worked for Audi and Mercedes-Benz and who specializes in using recycled materials. She says the goal of the competition is to “spread a feeling of empowerment and spotlight people who are accomplishing awesome things every day.”

Among the entries so far in the competition (which runs through Saturday) are a set of ceramics made, in Hong Kong, from coffee grinds, floral waste and cacao husks; clothes for unhoused youth made from bulletproof vests (upcycled from the deadstock of a security company); and a way to cut overlong dog nails by spreading xylitol-free peanut butter on Saran Wrap wrapped around one’s forehead. Funny or Die exec Chris Bruss, who also entered, described his submission this way: “Last night, I scotch taped glow sticks onto my toddler, turned off the lights and turned his nightly Flo Rida dance into a midnight disco.”

“I think the concept is we’re not just surviving, we’re making and remaking greater things than we had before this crisis and it’s what we want to continue after we are back into the world.”

Vicki von Holzhausen

The winner of the contest will direct proceeds from the company’s May sales to a charity of their choice. Other judges include musicians Carla Azar of Autolux and Derrick Green of Sepultura, Vega food line founder Brendan Brazier, Apple advertising legend Lee Clow, Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and Tesla director of product design Javier Verdura.

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