Levi’s To Roll Out More Efficient, Eco-Friendly Process

Levi Strauss & Co. unveiled Project F.L.X. (Future Lead Execution), which the San Francisco denim giant described as a new operational model that will make the company more efficient and more eco-friendly.

The automated Project F.L.X. will replace hand finishing and denim cutting, according to a company statement. Previously, the company’s finishing time took an hour for two to three pairs of jeans. With Project F.L.X., it takes 90 seconds per garment, which will be followed by a final wash cycle.

It also will reduce the total number of chemicals in the finishing process from thousands to a few dozen. The process fits Levi’s pledge to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020. “We believe it is possible to be both agile and sustainable without compromising the authenticity our consumers expect from us,” said Chip Bergh, Levi’s president and chief executive officer.

Project F.L.X. was developed by Levi’s Eureka Innovation Lab. The San Francisco–based research-and-development outfit developed software for the design of the jeans and also works with lasers to distress denim. The lasers, developed by a Spanish company called Jeanologia, will replace a lot of the need for chemicals required to give a distressed and worn look to denim.

Levi’s said this process can be quickly scaled to mass manufacturing and can cut production lead times from six months to a matter of weeks or even days.

“The advanced imaging capability is a game changer for us and something that has eluded our industry for years,” said Liz O’Neill, Levi’s senior vice president and chief supply chain officer.

The company has tested Project F.L.X with assorted vendors and will roll out the model companywide in the next two years, Levi’s said.