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Space Coast startup that turns trash into clothes targets REI partnership – The Business Journals

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure — or, in the case of Sea Threads LLC, another person’s T-shirt.
The Melbourne-based company turns plastic collected from oceans and coastlines into apparel. The work the young company is doing to clean up the world’s oceans while also bringing jobs to Central Florida earned founder and CEO Dylan Cross a spot among Orlando Inno‘s 2022 Inno Under 25 cohort.
The annual honor recognizes five Central Florida entrepreneurs and technologists 25 years old or younger who are making waves in the business community. All five honorees will be recognized on Orlando Inno‘s website, as well as in Orlando Business Journal‘s Oct. 14 print issue.
The company, based at Space Coast incubator Groundswell Startups, has built a supply chain that takes plastic pulled from waters in Indonesia to stops around the world before shirts are printed in Central Florida.
Here, Cross shares with Orlando Inno more about his company, including its plans to launch a pilot with REI:
What does your company do? Sea Threads makes novel sustainable apparel out of plastic collected from the ocean. I work with brands and retailers to convert their existing lines to ocean plastic.
What were your company’s greatest accomplishments of the last 12 months? Bringing a new material to market is no easy task. Despite local pilots selling out the first month, I received valuable customer feedback. Our ocean plastic fabric had some flaws that needed to be addressed before further expansion. Working with a textile lab, we succeeded in replicating a sample of virgin polyester one-to-one. I can’t wait to share a product that is both ultra-sustainable and uncompromising in quality with our customers.
What’s your top work-related goal for 2022? Launching pilots with national brands like REI, I look to springboard the commercialization of ocean plastic and make a sizable dent in the ocean pollution problem. 
Who is your best career mentor? Fellow Orlando Inno Under 25 honoree Benjamin Stern. As a seasoned CEO and founder in the sustainability space, having someone like Ben in your corner is a must.
What are your hobbies? Hiking, fly fishing, and basically anything active and outdoors
What is a fun fact about you? Fresh out of college, I led bioluminescent kayak tours on the Indian River Lagoon. 
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