2022 Grants Challenge

We are resolving the fashion industry's textile waste crisis.

Idea by Roboro

Roboro is a textile waste reduction agency, addressing the devastating global impacts of the fashion industry. In partnership with our extensive network of LA based factories, brands, suppliers & advocacy groups we are identifying industry wide problems and implementing systems to improve issues such as; sustainability practices, protecting garment worker's rights and educate consumers on the global impacts of their clothing purchases. It is our intention to replicate Roboro's innovative model in clothing manufacturing hubs around the globe.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Climate and Environment

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Fashion is the 2nd most polluting global industry, after oil. In 2018 the fashion industry contributed 4% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than the carbon output of France, Germany & the United Kingdom combined. Over 13 billion tons of discarded clothing and fabric is sent to US landfills each year. In addition to the environmental impact, garment workers, 75% of whom are young women, are among some of the lowest paid workers, both overseas and here at home. Despite all of this, the typical consumer is blissfully unaware of these devastating impacts. The EPA regulations have led large brands to take advantage of lax environmental laws and cheap labor overseas, keeping the majority of these practices far from western eyes. However, when taking a closer look at the fashion district in DTLA, it is obvious that these practices are just as common in our own backyard.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Roboro is an established industry leader in the sustainable fashion space. Already partnered with the city of Los Angeles through the California Product Stewardship Councils's LA textile recovery pilot program. We are also providing local LA designers with the tools and resources to upcycle, we are attacking the waste problem head on by avoiding additional and unncessary production of textiles. As a result, less waste will end up in landfills. Because LA is one of the great fashion centers both nationally and internationally, more local and up and coming designers can learn to work sustainably and in success, influence the fashion industry worldwide. With additional funding, we can extend our reach, better market our offerings and serve a larger clientele.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

As a leader in the fashion industry, both here at home and abroad, Los Angeles stands to be an example of how we can improve industry wide practices and reverse the damage we are doing to our city and planet. Los Angeles is known worldwide for its climate, trend setting, art, culture and influence. We can use that platform to elevate our citywide goal to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 40% below the 1990 levels by 2030. We can elevate the socio-economic standing of it’s more than 45,000 garment workers, who are primarily Lantino/a and Asian immigrants. We can improve the air quality for Los Angeles residents by implementing solutions to reduce our textile waste which requires enormous amounts of transportation. We can address the water shortage by identifying wasteful practices in fabric production, dying and treatments. We would be doing ourselves a disservice to not be taking a closer look, especially when the world is looking at us when the Olympics come to visit in 2028.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The impact we’re making in this industry is already clear. We are the company that internationally recognized brands such as Reformation, APC, Herbalife and Hadley & Bennett call to help with their textile waste management solutions. Not only brands, but nonprofits and educational institutions such as Project Ropa, California Product Stewardship Council and California State University Northridge. When it comes to influence, Roboro is affecting global culture by highlighting upcycled, sustainable fashion on the global stage at events such as the 2022 Academy Awards. We produced a red carpet gown for producer Charlotte Sanchez, from the 3 time Oscar nominated film ‘Flee’. But all of this is fame, influence and exposure. In regards to measurable impact, we like everyone else jumped to help in 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit. We instituted a mask sponsorship program for essential workers, producing over 3k upcycled masks and diverting over 200 yards of fabric, in a 3 week period.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 150

Indirect Impact: 4,000