• The funding part of a global fellowship programme to accelerate innovation in sustainable apparel.
The funding will go toward new approaches and innovations in the apparel supply chain that address issues related to climate change

The funding will go toward new approaches and innovations in the apparel supply chain that address issues related to climate change

Denim giant Levi Strauss & Co (LS&Co) is granting more than US$380,000 to the second class of its Collaboratory fellowship – a programme aimed at accelerating innovation in sustainable apparel.

The funding will go toward new approaches and innovations in the apparel supply chain that address issues related to climate change, including an upcycled fashion brand that "rescues" brands' excess fabrics; an overdye re-manufacturer that collaborates with brands to transform pre- and post-consumer waste clothing into new by making it black; and a new materials startup that is developing innovative circular and regenerative technologies.

The Collaboratory is a fellowship programme for entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs who see design and sustainability as inextricably linked and are working to create a more sustainable apparel industry. The programme tackles different social and environmental sustainability challenges that are critically important to the future of the apparel industry and the planet. The first Collaboratory class focused on water, while this current class targetted climate change.

"LS&Co believes that climate change is one of the most important issues of our time and a critical challenge for the apparel industry. Mitigating climate change and transitioning to a low-carbon, more circular future are vital to the health and well-being of the people who wear and make our products, and the future supply of raw materials needed to make those products," the company says.

Collaboratory fellows attended a weekend workshop at LS&Co's Eureka Innovation Lab, where they had the opportunity to work through ideas and challenges with LS&Co leaders and employee mentors, along with sustainability and apparel industry experts, as they developed concrete, tangible plans for reducing their organisation's, and the industry's, climate impact.

Following the Collaboratory workshop weekend, the fellows submitted project proposals focused on innovative and impactful solutions tied to climate change, with the opportunity to receive funding from LS&Co to implement their solutions.

"The energy and creativity on display from this class of fellows was wonderful to see," says Paul Dillinger, vice president of global product innovation at LS&Co. "We all know how urgently our industry, and our planet, need real solutions to the challenges presented by climate change, so we are proud to support ideas and projects that can help get us closer to where we need to be."

The selected fellows are listed below along with brief descriptions of their projects:

Christina Dean, co-founder and CEO of The R Collective (Hong Kong)

The R Collective is an upcycled fashion brand that "rescues" brands' excess fabrics to create clothes designed by award-winning sustainable designers to raise funds for Redress.

Ali El Idrissi, founder and CEO of UpChoose (San Francisco, CA)

UpChoose is a sustainable consumption platform that designs smarter services for "key life moments", starting with a circular baby wardrobe solution through which new parents receive curated sets of organic clothing essentials at each phase of a baby's growth and send them back after use.

Ashley Etling, CEO & co-founder of LimeLoop (Emeryville, CA)

LimeLoop is reinventing the way goods are sent and received via a full-circle shipper solution and sensor-driven platform.

Amanda Grogan, founder of Make It Black (New York, NY)

Make It Black is an overdye re-manufacturer that collaborates with brands to transform pre and post-consumer waste clothing into new by making it black. Make It Black is developing a circular garment overdye technology.

Eleazar Guevara, co-founder of Novabori (Tlaxcala, Mexico)

Novabori is a B2B company that works with brands to develop eco-friendly fabrics from recycled materials such as cotton, polyester, wool, and acrylics.

Molly Hemstreet, co-founder, The Industrial Commons/Opportunity Threads (Morganton, NC)

The Industrial Commons provides educational tools for frontline textile workers responsible for implementing the local circular economy. This project is calling special attention to the importance of workers' role in the circular economy and engaging them in the tool development process.

Marianne Hughes, founder and CEO of GetKno (London, England)

GetKno is the world's first real-time transparency platform – for brands, factories and workers – verifying worker happiness and pay and giving workers a voice 24/7.

Ryan Huston, founder and general manager of Huston Textile Company (Mather, CA)

Family-owned and operated business since 2013, Huston Textile makes high-quality fabrics sourced from domestic sustainable, organic, and climate beneficial fibers.

Isaac Nichelson, co-founder of Circular Systems (Los Angeles, CA)

Circular Systems is a new materials startup that is developing innovative circular and regenerative technologies.

Ann Runnel, founder of Reverse Resources (Talinn, Estonia)

Reverse Resources has built a software-as-a-service platform for garment factories and textile waste recyclers to trade and trace waste end-to-end.

Kushagra Srivastava, CEO of Chakr Innovation (Gurgaon, India)

Chakr Innovation is a three-year-old startup that developed a technology to capture particulate matter emissions from diesel generators and convert it into inks and paints.