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501 Green: Turning Rags into Dream Jeans

Posted by seattle

Stacy Flynn had built a successful career in the textile industry, but in 2010 she found herself in China without corporate credentials for the first time. She wasn’t Stacy from Target or Eddie Bauer, she was on her own, meeting with a small manufacturing outfit.  When she and her colleague arrived at the headquarters they could barely see each other through the polluted air that followed them inside and hovered above the heads of corporate team that worked there.

“It dawned on me that my industry creates the kind of conditions where children have never seen blue sky,” says Stacy. “They can’t swim their lakes or rivers because they’re black. And then I began adding up how many millions of yards of fabric I have created in the world and all of sudden I became linked to this massive issue I was standing in the middle of.”

Stacy returned to the states determined to do something different and on October 28, 2014 she stepped onto the Fast Pitch stage with a revolutionary idea. Her company Evrnu had developed the technology to create durable, high quality fibers made entirely from the cotton in the clothing and textiles we throw away every year.

That night, Stacy won a $140,000 investment, allowing Evrnu to attract additional investors. Within three months, they secured all the capital needed to get their fiber technology off the ground. And within 18 months, Evrnu solidified a powerful partnership with Levi Strauss & Co., producing a pair of prototype jeans made primarily from recycled T-shirts.

“LS&Co. was the perfect first partner for us to demonstrate our technology and capability as they are an iconic American company with a product that’s recognized around the world,” said Stacy in a recent interview with Levi Straus. “Our aspiration is to build a pair of Levi’s jeans that are just as beautiful and strong as the original and we’re making great progress toward that goal.”

Check out the full Levi’s story and watch Stacy’s 2015 TEDx talk below!

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