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sustainability conference april 3 and 4, 2019

April 3 & 4, 2019
Fashion Institute of Technology

The Sustainability Council at FIT hosts a Sustainable Business and Design Conference each spring. The event provides a platform for collaboration and discussion throughout the creative industries, highlighting advances in sustainable design and thought leadership. Environmental and social challenges and potential solutions are explored through innovative student projects, cross-institutional research, and industry partnerships. In recent years, breakout sessions have included topics such as farm-to-fashion, textile development, sustainable fashion supply chain, mindfulness in design, and packaging materials and recycling. The wide-ranging program features keynote speakers, panels, and projects that delve into pressing issues and exciting developments in the industry.

This year’s Sustainable Business and Design Conference theme was Innovating for the Future. It offers branding and speaking opportunities, as well as brand logo placement on conference marketing collateral.

» Watch Videos of the Conference


9:00–10:30 am  Check In and Networking Breakfast Pomerantz Lobby, John E. Reeves Great Hall 
10:45–11:00 am Welcome
Dr. Joyce F. Brown, FIT President
Brad Hoylman, New York State Senator
Haft Theater 
11:00–11:40 am Concurrent Sessions  
  Panel: Global Changemakers Paving the Way for Sustainability in the Beauty, Fashion, Hospitality, and Nonprofit Industries
Barbara De Laere Aveda is joined by brand partners and sustainability leaders Phillip Lim, Hannah Bronfman and Lauren Letta to discuss things they never thought to be possible in their industries, where luxury and sustainability meet and the idea that it is possible to be both successful and responsible in business.
Moderator: Barbara De Laere, Aveda
Panelists: Hannah Bronfman, SH Hotels & Resorts, Phillip Lim, 3.1 Phillip Lim Lauren Letta, charity: water
Haft Theater 
  Biomaterials, Biomimicry, and Reversing Global Warming Through Education and Empowerment
Discover the intersection of science, technology, and design where Danielle aims to encourage a departure from conventional materials and production techniques in search of long-term, sustainable solutions. With an emphasis on biofabrication and biomimicry, much of her work upholds a fundamental value of nature and embodies a systems thinking approach that benefits all life on this planet.
Speaker: Danielle Trofe, Danielle Trofe Design
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
11:45 am–12:15 pm Pioneering Women in Sustainability 
Women are taking the lead in sustainability in various industries across the globe. Join this program to hear a conversation among some of these pioneers.
Moderator: Tabea Soriano, Product Guild
Speakers: Nadja Swarovski, Swarovski; Evie Evangelou, Fashion 4 Development (F4D); Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED
Haft Theater 
12:30–1:45 pm Film: Swarovski Waterschool Documentary
The film demonstrates the power of education, and how we can all be ambassadors for water conservation.
John E. Reeves Great Hall 
2:15–2:45 pm Kering 2025: Crafting Tomorrow's Luxury
Moderator: Lydia Dishman, Fast Company
Michael Beutler, Kering
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
3:00–3:30 pm Concurrent Sessions  
  Conversation with Amber Valletta and Amy Johnson
Moderator: Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times
Speakers: Amber Valletta, model, actress, Master & Muse; and Amy Johnson, Master & Muse
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
  Examples of Sustainability in the FIT Classroom (ends at 3:45 pm)
FIT faculty (professors in Photography, Textile/ Surface Design, English & Communication Studies, and Interior Design) will discuss how they are incorporating sustainability inside and outside the classroom and studio.
Moderator: Marybeth Schmitt
FIT Faculty Members: Keith Ellenbogen, Photography; Susanne Goetz, Textile/Surface Design; Grazyna Pilatowicz, Interior Design; Amy Lemmon, English and Communication Studies
John E. Reeves Great Hall 
4:00 pm Conference Day One Ends  

9:00–9:45 am  Check In and Networking Breakfast Pomerantz Lobby, John E. Reeves Great Hall 
9:45–9:55 am Opening Remarks
FIT Sustainability Council
Co-Chairs: Suzanne McGillicuddy and Dr. Karen Pearson
John E. Reeves Great Hall
10:00–11:15 am Concurrent Sessions  
  Panel: Circularity (until 11:00 am)
Panelists will discuss the movement to ensure that fashion is created from from safe and renewable materials, new business models increase their use, and old garments/textiles are turned into new. This would shift from a linear model leading to waste to a circular economy.
Moderator: Céline Semaan, Slow Factory and The Library
Panelists: Kristy Caylor, For Days; Cynthia Power, Eileen Fisher Renew; Jessica Schreiber, FABSCRAP

Network with Circularity Panel Members (until 11:30 am)
John E. Reeves Great Hall
  Designing Living Things
Dr. Agapakis is a biologist, writer, and artist who will share the future potential of synthetic biology that she and her colleagues work on at Ginkgo Bioworks, an organism design company that designs microbes for sustainable innovation in food, agriculture, medicine, materials, and more.
Speaker: Dr. Christina Agapakis, Ginkgo Bioworks
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
11:30 am–1:00 pm Innovation and Sustainability Across the Industries 
Hosted by: Joanne Arbuckle, FIT
Veil Intimates, Meghan Marsden
Costa Brazil, Francisco Costa
Conservation International, Anastasia Khoo
STOLL, Jaime Bartholomai
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
1:00–2:00 pm Lunch
Presentation: Fashion 4 Development
Moderator: WWD Representative
Speakers: Jeanine Ballone, Fashion 4 Development (F4D); Evie Evangelou, Fashion 4 Development (F4D)
John E. Reeves Great Hall 
1:302:00 pm Microplastics: Origins and Impact on Marine Mammals
This talk will discuss various aspects of microplastic pollution from synthetic and natural textile products and fibers with a special focus on the effects of microplastics on marine mammals.
Speakers: Dr. Arthur Kopelman, FIT; Dr. Ajoy Sarkar, FIT 
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
2:15–2:45 pm Concurrent Sessions  
  Innovation with PVH
Speaker: Melanie Steiner, PVH
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
  Panel: Sustaining a Sustainable Business
The challenges and triumphs of launching, growing and scaling a sustainable business.
Moderator: Caroline Palmer
Panelists: Maxine Bedat, The New Standard Institute; Nicole Heim, Cienne; Karen Wood, Neu Nomads
John E. Reeves Great Hall 
3:00–3:45 pm Panel: Bio-fabrication and Materials of the Future
Moderator: Dr. Karen Pearson, FIT
Speakers: Deborah Berger, Chargeurs; Dr. Theanne Schiros, FIT; Dr. Gary Halada, Stony Brook University
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
4:004:45 pm Panel: Jobs of Tomorrow
Moderator: Chantal Fernandez, The Business of Fashion
Speakers: Christopher Bevans, DYNE; Michael Ferraro, FIT; Christopher Wiley, Data Consultant
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
4:45–5:15 pm Spotlight on Students in Sustainability Leadership
FIT students have been leading a number of sustainable initiatives on campus including composting, FIT Hives, and creating sustainability leadership positions in the residence halls. Come hear what they’ve been up to.
Moderator: Suzanne McGillicuddy, FIT
FIT Student Panelists: Tessa Beltrano, Colleen Gruszecki, Emily Galvelis, Michele Sparrow
John E. Reeves Great Hall 
5:15–5:45 pm Featured Closing Speaker: Paul Dillinger, VP, Head of Global Design Innovation, Levi Strauss & Co.
As Vice President and Head of Global Design Innovation, Paul Dillinger is responsible for leading groundbreaking sustainable product and design initiatives at Levi Strauss & Co. During his closing he will challenge us to pay attention to the change that is needed and inspire us to design and make business decisions with “joy, purpose, and longevity” in mind.
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
6:008:00 pm Closing Cocktail Reception (by invitation) Art & Design Gallery, Pomerantz Lobby

For additional information or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please email Melanie Copple, director of Strategic Philanthropy, at [email protected] or call (212) 217-4126.

Conference Registration