Thirty-one-year-old Ali Rose isn’t one to be daunted by a difficult project. Now working in Flint, Michigan, she makes sleek eyeglasses out of plastic water bottles. To her, fashion isn’t cool unless it’s making the world a better place.

Sustainability took center stage for Rose, who grew up in a suburb of Detroit, after she graduated from the Parsons School of Design, in New York, when she started working as a designer at mass-market fashion giants Joe Fresh and Lane Byrant and quickly became disenchanted with the levels of waste the industry was producing. “I felt I was just making shit that people didn’t need,” Rose says, on the phone from her Flint office space. “It just was not aligned with my personal values at all.”