Camay Abraham

Few industries are as tangled with buzzwords as the fashion industry. Clothing brands, rightly concerned about their tremendous effects on the environment, are eager to call their collections “green” or “sustainable.” But making tangible changes in how clothing is produced and distributed has been a struggle.

On Tuesday, L.A.-based startup Ambercycle announced it raised a $21.6 million Series A round to try to tackle the problem. The funding comes from fashion heavyweights including H&M (which has used its technology in recent collections) and online fashion and shoe retailer Zalando, among others. It will go to ramping up production of the company’s fiber regenerative technology, which it created and piloted in a manufacturing plant downtown.

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Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Guadalupe (Loopé) Tlatenchi has worked in many areas of L.A.’s fashion industry for the past 10 years, first as a freelance patternmaker, then as a designer.

The city is home to one of the top fashion manufacturing capitals in the U.S. where over 40,000 garment workers work in sometimes dirty and dangerous factories, producing garments for as little as $6 a piece. A new state law, passed in October of this year called the Garment Workers Protection Act seeks to change this by eliminating the pay-per-piece system and compensating garment workers with an hourly minimum wage.

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