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Meet the first class of Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory Fellows


As we announced in May, to help us share our sustainability learnings with the next generation of apparel leaders and make an outsized impact on our communities, we launched the LS&Co. Collaboratory — an annual fellowship program aimed at creating a more socially and environmentally responsible industry.

Today we’re excited to unveil the 10 entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs who were selected to participate in our inaugural class of the Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory. More than 100 leaders from ten countries around the world applied for the program, representing a wide range of apparel businesses, social enterprises and ideas.

The Collaboratory fellows will participate in an exclusive workshop this October at the Eureka Innovation Lab, where they will create solutions to reduce their water impact. As part of the curriculum, designed in partnership with the Aspen Institute, fellows will work alongside LS&Co. leaders as well as experts in the field. Each fellow’s water solution can also receive up to $50,000 in funding.

“We’re impressed by the caliber of applications we received from around the world and inspired by the bold thinking and shared commitment to creating a more sustainable apparel industry,” said CEO Chip Bergh. “Our goal with the Collaboratory is to fuel the next generation of apparel makers and accelerate sustainability innovation, and we’re excited about what this group of fellows will accomplish.”

Here’s a look at the 2016 LS&Co. Collaboratory fellows:

  • Miriam Dym: Founder of Dym | california textiles, a workshop focused on producing local, “slow” textiles.
  • Mo Elliott: CEO and Founder of Fayettechill Clothing Company, which creates inspired apparel for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Jesus Ciriza Larraona: Founder and executive director of The Colours of Nature, a natural dye company specializing in indigo.
  • Kevin McCracken: Co-founder of Social Imprints, a full-service merchandising company that employs at-risk populations.
  • John Moore: Co-founder and creative director of Outerknown, a sustainable menswear brand that blends function and style starting at the supply chain.
  • Pauline Munga: Founder and creative director of Home Abroad, a startup featuring ethically made fashion that incorporates African textiles.
  • Wesley Owiti: CEO and co-founder of Cherehani Africa, a social enterprise focused on women’s empowerment and financial inclusion through sustainable fashion.
  • Kavita Parmar: Founder and creative director of the IOU Project, an experiment to rethink how goods are produced and sold in a way that empowers artisans and protects the environment.
  • Benita Singh: Co-founder and CEO of Le Souk, the first online global textiles marketplace.
  • Rebecca van Bergen: Founder and executive director of Nest, a nonprofit committed to the social and economic advancement of the fashion and home industry’s informal workforce.

We will be profiling the fellows on Unzipped in the weeks leading up to the workshop weekend, so be sure to check back in.