Levi Is Using Lasers To Make More Eco-Friendly Jeans

Levi has created a new model for denim finishing called Project F.L.X. This method adapts the design and development process of denim finishing to a digital process which opens up the possibility of a more sustainable supply chain.


May 22 2019, Updated 12:39 p.m. ET

The fashion industry has recently been under fire for not only the waste produced by quickly discarded post-consumer garments, but also because production methods are often wasteful and involve hazardous by-products. In response to this problem, Levi Strauss & Co. created a new technology. Their goal? To create to a sustainable, yet durable garment.

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Levi recently revealed Project F.L.X. (future-led execution), a new model for denim finishing. Project F.L.X. makes denim finishing a digital process. This allows for a more sustainable supply chain.

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With more than 2,900 retail stores and locations in over 110 countries, today the multibillion-dollar company’s decisions continue to have a substantial impact on the fashion industry. President and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co., Chip Bergh explained how he wants this shift to make a positive new change, stating, “Our goal was to tackle two predominant industry challenges — being able to respond quickly to changing consumer trends while making the manufacturing process more sustainable.”

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To create the new technology, Levi worked with Eureka Innovation Lab. This in-house team of designers, developers, chemists, and engineers were tasked to find a way to improve the industry while making it less harmful to the environment. Levi also teamed up with Jeanologia, a company which specializes in eco-efficient solutions for apparel finishings. Jeanologia has been working on pushing sustainable apparel manufacturing forward while focusing on scalable disruptive tech.

This new method will help remove chemical materials from the supply chain. From thousands of formulations to just a small handful, Levi’s chemical reduction is a significant step towards their 2020 goal for zero discharge of hazardous chemicals.

This fast process also allows for on-demand production, which naturally allows for less waste. The ability for hyper-local production allows for more flexibility that takes out faulty guesswork when determining consumer demands and changing trends.

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Levi’s senior vice president and chief supply chain officer, Liz O’Neill said, “With this new model, we can deliver the authentic and iconic products we’re known for in an incredibly responsive and responsible way. The advanced imaging capability is a game-changer for us and something that has eluded our industry for years. Key steps in the process are now concentrated into a digital file, eliminating time and waste.”

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This technique frees up workers from the chemical-reliant process of hand-finishing. Instead, the once time-consuming process is made much more efficient, and each garment can be finished in 90 seconds

In addition to keeping items stocked more efficiently, retailers will be able to offer exclusive items to customers. Levi has already been testing the new model with select vendors and plans to fully scale the new digital platform by 2020.

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