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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.

Sustainability has constantly been on the rise in the fashion industry and the search is on for the perfect solution to end the cost of dead inventory and the environmental consequences of popular fast fashion. Fashion production makes up “10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year. And washing some types of clothes sends thousands of bits of plastic into the ocean.” That’s about 92 million tons of textile waste each year alone. There is a clear issue here that often gets swept under the dirt (literally), and there is a dire need for mass awareness and change. 

I got the opportunity to interview Stacy Flynn, the CEO and co-partner of Evrnu, and Beth Tyson, senior vice president of EarthShare, an environmental nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Maryland. Both women have a lot of passion for their careers and a greater passion for the environment. These inspiring women are working their best to make the environment and the world a better place through their continuous efforts to spread awareness.

Flynn studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, where she discovered textiles and fell in love with the textile industry. After graduating, she created one of the most innovative sustainable fashion fiber companies, Evrnu.

Evrnu allows individuals to recycle and transform their old clothes from trash to sustainable treasure. It uses inventive technologies to create regenerative fiber from discarded clothing materials using NuCyle; regenerative fiber technologies that work to create entirely new clothing products from fibers that can be recycled and reused in the future. Flynn has taken on one of the most concerning issues in the fashion industry and continues to find solutions beneficial to producers, consumers, and the environment as a collective. “We all started a beautiful problem throughout our career, but now we can finally start to fix it.”

COVID-19 has been eye-opening for society to realize the condition of the fashion industry regarding caring for the environment. However, Flynn wants to remind the public that the fashion industry was broken even before the pandemic. She also recognizes that “the consumer is finally understanding how clothes are being made—and how it ‘s not okay.” We must combine sustainability and fashion to find a solution that benefits both equations. Luckily with Evrnu, we are one step closer to that solution. 

When asked if she saw other companies with the same goal as a complementor competitor, Flynn said, “neither, we see them as a customer.” Flynn hopes to turn competition into collaboration, which includes learning from others while providing designers with sustainable textiles and fabrics to transform the industry. Flynn hopes that by the time fashion students become her age, sustainable fashion will be both the norm and protocol of the industry. 

Another influential individual passionate about the environment and hopes to see change is Senior Vice President of Campaigns and Membership at EarthShare, Beth Tyson. Tyson went to James Madison University and studied international business and health and human sercices. Tyson was always passionate about helping people and the environment, although it wasn’t until a trip to California that she realized she wanted to turn her passion into a full-time career.

Twenty years ago, Tyson was driving up the coast of California listening to an environemntal NPR episode while looking out the window to see the breathtaking coast that was affected by the same pollution issues the podcast was speaking of. That moments was the catalyst that led Tyson to immerse herself in the environmental protection movement.

Tyson’s goal is to “greatly encourage environmental action and giving throughout the United States.” The company she works for, EarthShare, raises money and donates to over 500 environmental nonprofits that support and protect our land, water, air, wildlife and health. The environmental issues they fund surround climate change, water quality, wildlife protection, and much more. EarthShare is proud to maintain a history of delivering more than $300 million in 30 years. Tyson says climate change is one of the largest and most alarming issues in the environment because of its drastic effect on the planet and wildlife. She also recognizes that the textile industry has a lot of waste contributing to a problem that EarthShare is working to change. 

Tyson says “this is our one planet we know that sustains life to date and yet we don’t protect it. It is our one life source, and it amazes me how we seem to go about our lives and don’t pay enough attention to something so valuable.” I hope this powerful statement reaches and inspires others to create awareness and change. Although all hope is not lost yet, the favorite part of Tyson’s job is learning about the astounding work of environmentalists and helping her colleagues and donors invest in work that creates positive and lasting change. 

After attending valuable interviews with both women, they have collectively inspired me to do my part and make a difference by spreading awareness about environmental issues and potential solutions underway that have the power to create long-term change. I hope that you, too, can take a moment to think about how valuable our earth truly is and how to take steps further to protect it. As Stacy Flynn says, “the greatest problems create the greatest opportunity,” and that opportunity depends solely on us as individuals and is born from our love of the planet we call home. 

Learn more about Evrnu and how to contribute to the sustainable fashion movement by visiting https://www.evrnu.com/collaborate

If you are interested in collaborating with or donating to EarthShare, please visit https://www.earthshare.org/donate/

Caroline Stoaks is a passionate writer for Her Campus JMU. She's majoring in Media Arts and Design with a concentration in Journalism and minoring in Family Studies and Youth Justice. A few of her favorite things include hiking, reading on the beach and cuddling with her kitten, Apple Jack.