The world's clothing and textile industry tops $2.5 trillion a year, and three women in Cary are working hard to carve out their niche in the industry with creative fashion that's green.
Mefiver, headquartered in Cary, was named one of the top five most promising startups in the world by the global competition Startup Open, which recognizes and reward startups and the entrepreneurs behind them.
The design work and fabric cutting is done in Cary, and then the clothes are sewn in Asheboro.
But what sets Mefiver's clothing apart is how it is dyed.
"These are actually printed, so it saves a lot of coloring," explained co-founder Veronica Tibbitts. "[The jeans] are more sustainable because traditional indigo jeans are dyed. There's a lot of waste in the dye process."
The dye and patterns are printed on fabric using a digital textile printer.
"A very small about of dye is used. It's about maybe an ounce, compared to like a gallon of how you would traditionally dye jeans," Tibbitts said. "We use only the exact amount that is necessary."
Tibbitts said the printing is a much cleaner process because it uses less dye, less water and had less waste.
"About 250 gallons of water are used to make a traditional pair of jeans, and we use less than a gallon," Tibbitts said.
The green denim comes with a designer flair, as well. Tibbitts said Mefiver calls the printing digital art on denim, and there is no limitation on artwork or color.
The company makes men's and women's jackets, tops, skirts and even bustiers.
Not all of the designs are for the conservative dresser. Perhaps Mefiver's most creative outfit was anaglyph 3D, created specifically for the couture, eco-minded fashionista.
"You can see how it's layered to have the red and blue that creates the 3D effect when you wear the 3D glasses," Tibbitts explained. "They look kind of glitchy and high tech, and fun even if you are not wearing the glasses."
After a year of designing and literally working their fingers raw, the women of Mefiver are taking orders through the SRGB brand.