When Stacy Flynn took a production trip to China, she witnessed the direct effects of textile manufacturing on the environment and her own health. This led to an epiphany: She realized she must be a part of a sea change in the textile industry to move it in a sustainable direction. Since then, Flynn has become a textile and apparel environmental justice advocate and materials reuse expert. In 2014, she co-founded Evrnu, a textile innovations company that creates new materials from discarded textiles. Through Evrnu, Flynn aims to lead the charge for the circular textiles movement—a regenerative model in which materials are designed with multiple uses in mind. Prior to her role as Evrnu’s CEO, Flynn spent nearly two decades as a global textile specialist while working at DuPont, Eddie Bauer, and Target. She holds an MBA in sustainable systems from Presidio Graduate School and a B.A. in textile development and marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Evrnu is on a mission to reduce the negative environmental impact of the textile ecosystem so that humanity and the planet can thrive in harmony. A leader in the circular textile movement, it creates solutions that transform textile waste into raw material streams. Evrnu’s trademarked NuCycl technology creates material that can be recycled multiple times into new textiles for use in clothing, at home, or by industry, reducing waste, saving water, and shrinking the fabric’s carbon footprint. The technology is currently being adopted by leading brands and retailers around the world that are building recyclable apparel collections and consumer take-back programs.
Learn more about Evrnu here.
When you look back in five years, what do you hope you and your organization have accomplished?
Evrnu’s vision is to create and scale garment recycling technologies that utilize as much of the existing textile manufacturing infrastructure as possible. Our goal is to create powerful new solutions that inspire investment, so damaging technologies will be phased out and replaced with higher performing, regenerative solutions. We intend to prove that brands, retailers, and supply chain partners can create stronger businesses through the adoption of NuCycl technologies and distribute returns more equitably. Over the next five years, we will have built and tested our SPV licensing strategy to inspire existing players to reimagine how they collaborate and scale textile and apparel programs globally. The NuCycl brand will be recognized as a trusted consumer facing co-brand; consumers will know that their old textiles and apparel are consistently being turned into their new textiles and apparel by elegantly connecting the existing waste supply chain to the existing apparel supply chain.
How is the changing climate impacting your work?
Major brands, retailers, and supply chain partners have committed to reduce impact, yet the technologies to deliver on their published objectives do not exist at scale. There is a tremendous amount of pressure from the academic and NGO communities accusing sellers of greenwashing as they make outsized marketing claims to consumers that cannot be substantiated. There is not a culture of funding innovation on the industrial side of textiles or apparel, so the dominant business model has been based on style obsolescence, with consumption as the key driver. This is not a sustainable path as limits to growth are now visible.
We knew if we could leverage waste as a high-quality material input, this would give buyers something to invest in, and that if we made all products recyclable, we could create a self-feeding supply system. The fashion industry is a very powerful tool for the creation of culture and it could be the first major industry to show the world how we can set up industrial systems to move into balance with nature. No designer on Earth supports their art entering a landfill; once they have the right tools, they will make the appropriate choices and the business will have to adapt.
Change comes down to leadership; this problem cannot exist without permission from decision-makers. I see my work as constantly evolving to give decision-makers new options. We leverage their guidance to further develop NuCycl products so there are no trade-offs to the business, the environment, or human health and safety.