LS&Co. Funds The Next Generation of Apparel Leaders

Levi Strauss & Co.
May 24, 2017

Levi Strauss & Co.’s Collaboratory fellowship recently brought together a group of entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs committed to the important issues of our time and asked them to dream up creative solutions to water challenges in the apparel industry.

Today, LS&Co. announced that it will fund those solutions to the tune of more than $350,000.

These grants will enable Collaboratory fellows to implement a range of water-saving projects, from making wastewater treatment solutions more affordable for small artisan workshops to expanding an indigo dyeing facility that uses less water.

“To have the support of the entire team at an iconic brand like LS&Co. –  an industry stalwart – makes me believe that we can truly make a difference in the apparel industry,” said Collaboratory fellow Kavita Parmar, founder and creative director at the IOU Project. “Water is the biggest challenge we face globally in the coming decades and our industry is one of the biggest users. To work together and take a shot at changing the course of our future is exciting and fills me with optimism.”

The Collaboratory is a fellowship program for entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs who are working to create a more sustainable apparel industry, giving them a chance to pursue big and bold ideas with the support of mentors, sustainability experts and their peers.

“Working with LS&Co. changed how we look at innovation by educating and challenging our team to think in a more holistic way about our impact,” said Collaboratory fellow Kevin McCracken, co-founder of Social Imprints. “With access to funding and mentorship from the most innovative team in the apparel industry, we have an opportunity to make a real difference in what we do and how we produce products.”

Each year the program will take on a different social or environmental sustainability challenge facing the industry. The focus for this year’s inaugural class of fellows is water, an issue LS&Co. has been tackling for some time.

“We were honored to bring together the next generation of global leaders to share ideas, aspirations and innovations for achieving a common goal,” said Paul Dillinger, vice president and head of global product innovation, LS&Co. “We look forward to seeing the Collaboratory fellows’ water impact solutions come to life and inspire a future of empowered sustainable apparel makers.”

To learn more about the fellows and their projects, visit