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Meet Ali and Molly, LS&Co. Collaboratory Fellows


Over the next few months we are highlighting the fellows in our second class of the Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory. These 12 change-makers, who are committed to social and environmental progress, will attend an exclusive workshop at the Eureka Innovation Lab in June for inspiration, ideation and to collaborate on ideas to reduce the climate impact of the apparel industry.

Ali El Idrissi
Founder and CEO of UpChoose, an online platform designing sustainable consumption services, starting with a baby wardrobe solution.

 

If there was one thing you could be known for, what would it be?

I am on a mission to help build a new consumption model. Our consumption model is hurting our environment as well as our physical and mental health. I’m on a mission to help build a more sustainable model that will create endless opportunities to re-imagine and improve our lives.

Is there a “ah-ha!” moment that made you want to tackle climate change?

The “ah-ha” moment came when I realized that tackling climate change is not just about protecting our current lifestyle, it’s an opportunity to imagine a better one. When we look at it in a more holistic manner, we see that the climate crisis is rooted in our modern lifestyle, and in the economic model that supports it. The magnitude of the challenge demands a form of radical thinking: we need to redesign our behaviors, why and how we consume. It also creates a formidable opportunity to evolve from the current model, and to build solutions that everyone can be excited about and afford, beyond a happy few. It’s a pretty exciting journey to embark on.

Molly Hemstreet
Founder and General Manager, Opportunity Threads & The Industrial Commons. The Industrial Commons, a non-profit organization, and Opportunity Threads, a worker-owned, cut-and-sew factory work together in partnership to promote democratic workplaces and sustainable industry networks.


If there was one thing you could be known for, what would it be?

I believe workers are our most important asset and the power of informed and empowered workers will change the apparel industry from the inside out. The problem-solving strategies we have created through Opportunity Threads & The Industrial Commons is based on real-time, shop-floor experience and visionary (yet realistic) solutions that are transferable to other shops. So, if I could be known for one thing it would be to scale these ideas in an effort to transform the manufacturing base of the textile industry.

Can you elaborate on how your work is creating an impact?

We are on the front lines of supporting sustainable manufacturing in America. Our goal is to keep textile and related supply chain waste out of our landfills. As a generation of aging factory owners prepare to retire, The Industrial Commons is working to accomplish this goal by engaging younger workers and owners who are hungry for a more democratic workplace—and can preserve the region’s unique craft-production knowledge before it is lost.