02 May Reinventing Indigo + A Better Future for Denim Through Bio-Fashion Entrepreneurship with Tinctorium Co-Founders Michelle Zhu and Tammy Hsu
Meet this week’s guests, Michelle Zhu and Tammy Hsu, Co-founders of Tinctorium Inc.
What to know
Curious about the co-founders’ journey? Tammy worked on this technology during her PhD at UC Berkeley, while Michelle brings the business background and a family history in the denim and apparel biz. According to Tinctorium, “Everyone owns a pair of jeans – they’re a wardrobe staple. But the untold story in the denim industry is that the very substance that gives jeans their iconic look, indigo, is polluting our planet. Today, chemically synthesized indigo is the industry standard for dyeing jeans. It is made from petroleum, formaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide. And because indigo isn’t water soluble, it requires the addition of corrosive reducing agents in equal parts to be applied as dye. These toxic chemicals in the denim dyeing process are hazardous for workers and ruinous to water sources. For the last century, this problem has persisted as the status quo, untold and unresolved. Existing solutions are either unscalable or insufficient – until now.”
Luckily for the future, “We at Tinctorium have discovered a way to harness the power of biotechnology to enable sustainable indigo production. We figured out how to mirror a natural plant process within microbes to produce colors using completely renewable sources. We’re the sustainable solution for the future, and we’re taking on the denim industry to bring you cleaner jeans.”
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