Levi’s VP of Global Innovation Talks Sustainability, Upsides of Hemp

LIVING THE BRAND: Levi’s vice president of global innovation Paul Dillinger spoke quickly and passionately about how the fashion industry can take steps to become more sustainable, closing out the two-day Sustainable Business and Design Conference on Thursday night at F.I.T.
Wearing a white cottonized hemp jacket from the Levi’s Wellthread x Outerknown spring/summer collection, he told attendees that by touching it they would understand the possibilities of making the fabric into something lovely and soft (and not scratchy). The company’s first foray into the use of a new form of “cottonized hemp” denim — hemp that’s been altered to feel just like cotton, Dillinger’s embroidered trucker jacket has removable metal hardware for recyclability.
He also highlighted the company’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. Dillinger stressed the need to embrace circular industrial systems to reduce pollution rather than because “you want an excuse to grow.” Environmental issues such as deforestation and desertification are offshoots of overproduction. Dillinger suggested fashion companies and designers adopt the decluttering mantra from Marie Kondo, asking themselves pre-production if the item will bring people joy.
Dillinger spoke of how the fast-fashion industry has an incredible appetite “that is on steroids at this point.” In addition, the media reach of

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