create Finalist / 2019
CREATING CLOTHING FROM TRASH
EVERYBODY.WORLD is creating exciting new textiles and garments completely from manufacturing waste. The global success of our first product, the Trash Tee, made from 100% Recycled Cotton, has inspired us to expand the program to include three additional textiles—made in Los Angeles from fabric to finish—from trash. Recycled, recyclable, biodegradable—and as a business, scalable.
Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.
EVERYBODY.WORLD co-founders, Iris Alonzo and Carolina Crespo, have 30 years experience in the apparel manufacturing industry in Los Angeles. More than two decades of that was spent growing American Apparel, which at its peak employed 5,000 Angelenos and made one million cotton basics a week in the heart of downtown LA. Unfortunately, in 2015, the iconic factory closed and all several thousand highly skilled garment workers were left unemployed. This was detrimental to those individuals and their families, as well as the larger manufacturing community.
From that point on, Iris and Carolina committed to doing things that would support local apparel manufacturing, while also being acutely aware of fashion being the second most polluting industry on the planet, and in 2016, Iris and Carolina set out to create the world’s first 100% Recycled Cotton t-shirt utilizing post-industrial waste streams.
To find a solution, they had to start at the beginning of a t-shirt’s journey, at the yarn source. On their first visit to one of the largest yarn factories in the United States to talk about their waste streams, Iris and Carolina had their “aha!” moment. The yarn factory disclosed that they were producing about 500,000 pounds of cotton waste a week. One t-shirt is about half a pound of yarn. The duo had previously built a brand that was producing 1 million t-shirts per week. The math worked, and they knew they had an innovative and scalable business model!
Fast forward two and a half years, and EVERYBODY.WORLD is still the only company that has figured out how to make a 100% Recycled Cotton t-shirt. They have created a viable business that sells to forward-thinking B2C and B2B clientele all over the world. The success of this business means creating more local jobs, using less natural resources and innovating in an industry that is overdue for big change.
Which of the create metrics will your submission impact?
- Manufacturing activity
- Minority- and women-owned firms
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- South LA
- City of Los Angeles
How will your project make LA the best place to create?
The first step to executing this groundbreaking program starts at the same place EVERYBODY.WORLD began just over two years ago–a visit to the yarn factory where we will start work on new weights of our custom cotton yarn made from waste.
Once developed, the yarn will be brought to our knitting partner in Los Angeles to begin testing the knit process. The research and development phase for textiles ranges from two to four months, and with the addition of a dedicated product developer, we can simultaneously work on all three new recycled fabrics. Once the textiles have the EVERYBODY.WORLD signature handfeel, we will test substituting traditional cotton fabrics with our new-and-improved 100% Recycled Cotton versions in our top-selling silhouettes including hoodies, crewneck sweatshirts, sweatpants and t-shirts.
By month six, after internal testing, we anticipate being able to pilot test the new garments with trusted B2B customers. This will allow us to see whether they can positively impact their business using our products.
The entire process will be documented, because in EVERYBODY.WORLD’s case, the HOW, WHY and WHO is just as important as the WHAT. With the original content, we’ll begin building an exciting visual narrative with our network of diverse creatives, marketers and media partners, and plan to launch globally to all B2B and B2C clientele by month nine.
By the end of the 12 month span, EVERYBODY.WORLD will have real data to demonstrate success in several areas including sales, impact on local manufacturing, consumption of waste materials, and brand recognition. These metrics will inform our approach to scaling the recycled textile program, as well as prove that LA is indeed the best place to CREATE!
In what stage of innovation is this project?
Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Success for EVERYBODY.WORLD would be to launch a high-quality product that’s enjoyable, biodegradable, and marketable. We aim to be the industry standard for recycled textiles that customers like not only for their quality, but understand for their purpose, the story behind the satisfyingly tactile feel, and its impact on the environment.