Academic journal article Human Ecology

Sustainable Threads: Professors Receive a Grant to Develop Zero-Waste Fashion Solutions

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Sustainable Threads: Professors Receive a Grant to Develop Zero-Waste Fashion Solutions

Article excerpt

In January, Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) faculty members Tasha Lewis, PhD '09, and Anil Netravali received $150,000 for breakthroughs in textile manufacturing, no-waste apparel design, and reusing post-consumer textiles. The grant, given by the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, is part of a $10 million effort supporting new technologies to increase sustainability and decrease domestic production costs.

"Through these grants we hope to help remove the barriers to revitalizing and growing U.S. apparel manufacturing while creating more sustainable production processes," said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. "The U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation's broader commitment to foster new economic growth and opportunity and create stronger communities."

Lewis, who is also a faculty fellow at Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, focuses her research on the impact of technology in the apparel industry, the behavior of fashion brands, issues in global and domestic apparel production, and the significance of social responsibility throughout the apparel and product supply chain.

"Our project aims to reduce the consumption of natural resources to create virgin textiles," says Lewis. "We're also trying to divert used and unwanted clothing away from trash and landfills--all the while putting textiles to better use as a raw material.

"A lot of water is consumed during the textile dyeing and finishing processes, so if we find new ways to use discarded textiles, that's water and landfill use we save," she continues. …

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