|Maxine Bédat is the co-founder and CEO of Zady, a fashion brand and lifestyle destination creating a transparent and sustainable future for the $1.5 trillion apparel industry. Her background in international law and diplomacy, including serving as a legal clerk for the UN, led her to found the Bootstrap Project, a non-profit organization that works with entrepreneurs in the developing world. For its work in sustainability, Zady was named one of the world’s “Most Innovative Companies” in retail by Fast Company and its creativity was recognized by Mashable, which called it “the #1 business rocking content marketing.” Bédat serves on the Council of NationSwell, has spoken at some of the world’s leading conferences, including the WWD Apparel/Retail CEO Summit, and has been regularly featured as an expert by Bloomberg, Forbes, Business of Fashion, CNN, and the Huffington Post. Bédat is a graduate of Columbia Law School.|
|Sarah Bellos is founder and CEO of Nashville, Tennessee-based startup Stony Creek Colors, the leading U.S. manufacturer of bio-based dyes for the textile industry. In partnership with small farmers in the southeastern U.S., Stony Creek produces their flagship product, natural indigo for denim. Stony Creek’s innovative, farmer-based supply chain sustainably produces naturally occurring plant-based dyes with full transparency and authenticity, meeting the technical performance and volume requirements of textile mills and fashion brands worldwide without compromising product integrity. Bellos has been a leader in research efforts to bring bio-based colorant production to farmers, including through a USDA Value-Added Producers Grant (VAPG) and the prestigious Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. Bellos is the 2015 recipient of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, given to an outstanding young leader in textiles chemistry and materials.|
Giusy Bettoni is the CEO and founder of C.L.A.S.S., a unique worldwide platform set up in 2007 that showcases exclusive fashion, textiles, and materials created using smarter sustainable technology for fashion designers, industry, and business. She has been working within the textiles system for more than 30 years, starting with hands-on experience in the raw material market development sector, working for major international organizations. For the past 10 years, Bettoni’s focus has been on communicating the key competitive advantage of innovating responsibly in the textile and fashion market. She is also a consultant on responsible innovation for Première Vision, the leading global textile event, and an advisor to EcoAge and the Eco Chic Design Award. Since 2015, she has been an ecological advisor to the Arab Fashion Council.
Nina Braga has been the director of Instituto-E since its founding in 2007. Instituto-E is a Brazilian nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote sustainable human development. Braga is responsible for several of the institute’s projects, including e-fabrics. The author and organizer of collections and scientific papers, especially in the area of neonatal psychology and public health, Braga also directed environmental documentaries such as “Against Wind” and "Bocaina: High Trails,” both named “Best Brazilian Environmental Documentary” in the 1980s. She began her career in politics, as an advisor to the environment committee of the State of Rio’s Parliament. Soon after leaving Parliament, she was responsible for the social diagnosis that was the basis for the creation of the Environmental Protection Area of Cairuçu and Joatinga, both in the municipality of Paraty, State of Rio de Janeiro. She then coordinated the Cultural Foundation Brazil-Portugal, based in Rio de Janeiro, and later became a special reporter for Folha de São Paulo. In the ‘90s, she deepened her neonatal psychology studies and was invited to join the humanized care program for underweight newborns— Kangaroo Mother Care— as a consultant for the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Simultaneously, Braga became a professor in the Psychology Department of the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. She graduated in social and political sciences and psychology, and has a Master of Science and a postgraduate degree in social anthropology.
|Kirsten Brodde is a senior campaigner for Greenpeace International, leading its “Detox my fashion” campaign. Previously, she worked as a journalist for internationally renowned publications in Germany. She published a book about eco fashion in 2009 , and a second book, about modern campaigning, in 2010. Brodde is a well-known watchdog for consumer issues, especially the greening of the textile industry, and she runs her own fashion blog (www.gruenemode.de). Since 2011, she has been a member of the jury for the Federal Ecodesign Award in Germany. She studied medicine, German literature, and linguistics, and received her PhD in journalism from Hamburg University.|
|Sass Brown is acting assistant dean for the School of Art and Design at FIT. Originally from London, Brown established herself as a designer with her own signature collection selling in the UK and across Canada. As a researcher, writer, blogger, and educator, she is an expert in eco-fashion, in all of its various expressions, from slow design and heritage craft skills to recycle, reuse, and new business models. In addition to publishing papers, speaking, and teaching, she has advised women’s cooperatives, educational institutions, governmental agencies, NGOs, SMEs, and the creative industries in Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Chile, Sri Lanka, Korea, China, Italy, France, the US, Canada, and the UK, on the topic of sustainable design. Brown communicates and promotes the best in eco-fashion design, through a multitude of media, most notably her books Eco Fashion and ReFashioned, her website www.ecofashiontalk.com, and her journalism.|
Terry Buck is a master weaver with an extensive design portfolio and over 30 years’ experience in the textile industry. She began her career studying math and the natural sciences, and lived on Cape Cod, conducting biological research. In 1983, after completing her bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth, she moved to New York City and was hired by Milliken & Company to design fabrics for its woven division. Seeking greater diversity in fabric structure and applications, Buck began designing on her own and worked with fabric mills, fashion designers, yarn companies, and retail stores.
Terry Buck Weave Design is a creative resource for interior designers, architects, and others seeking exquisite handwoven textiles. The studio is equipped with the best multi-harness looms, employing the traditional flat weave technique. Buck designs and hand weaves functional art in the form of rugs, upholstery, window furnishings, and wall coverings, using high-quality natural materials that are often locally grown and American-made.
|Simone Cipriani founded and manages the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a flagship program of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and World Trade Organization. The Ethical Fashion Initiative advocates a more responsible and sustainable fashion industry, harnessing the power of fashion as a vehicle out of poverty by connecting artisans in the developing world to fashion’s supply chain. Since its inception, the initiative has evolved to work with emerging African designers to promote their talent at an international level and support Made in Africa production. Cipriani began his career working in the Italian shoe and leather industry before working for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to develop viable leather industries in Kenya and Ethiopia. He has consulted for a host of UN and international agencies. He designed and managed development cooperation projects in Asia and the maghreb. Cipriani previously worked for PISIE (International Polytechnic for Industrial and Economic Development), where he directed training and capacity building for the leather industry in the developing world and at the European Commission’s Ceseca Innovazione, which offered production services to Italian footwear and leather companies. As such, he brings a deep understanding of quality and production to the Ethical Fashion Initiative.|
Peggy Clark is the vice president of policy programs, executive director of Aspen Global Health and Development, and director of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise. Clark has had a 30 year career working on issues of poverty, global health, social enterprise, and development finance. Serving in founding and leadership roles at the Aspen Institute, the Ford Foundation, Save the Children, Realizing Rights, and on numerous boards, she has been a leading figure in identifying and building industries, movements, and creative advocacy on key issues of our times. Currently, she provides strategic oversight and guidance to the institute’s 30 policy programs and directs programs promoting solutions to global development, including artisan enterprise, reproductive health, new voices leadership development, health workforce sustainability, diaspora investing, and food security. Previously, she served as founding managing director of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, and as executive vice president for programs of the Aspen Institute.
Clark founded the Self-Employment Learning Project at the Aspen Institute, later named the Economic Opportunities Program, in 1991. In this role, she helped to establish the field of sectoral, or industry-targeted, workforce development with the publication “Jobs and the Urban Poor,” and crafted legislation to support industry-led workforce development. She also led efforts to establish the field of microenterprise development in the US, drafting the first legislation to support microenterprise out of the SBA, leading the first national evaluation of the microenterprise field, and producing the first Directory of U.S. Microenterprise Programs. Prior to that, Clark was a program officer at the Ford Foundation, managing a portfolio of women’s development, employment, and social enterprise grants in the U.S. and the developing world, and she served as the first director of Small Scale Enterprise and Credit at Save the Children Federation. She was a leader in founding and shaping the microfinance field internationally, helping to draft the first microenterprise legislation for USAID and serving on the first Microenterprise Advisory Council to the Administrator of USAID. In 1995, Clark received the inaugural Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development from President Bill Clinton.
Elizabeth L. Cline is a New York journalist and the author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, the book that first brought to light the social and environmental toll of today's global fashion industry and helped set in motion a revolution of sustainable and ethical clothing practices. Cline is a contributor to The Atlantic and is currently at work on her first documentary.
|Rebecca Earley graduated from Loughborough (BA printed textiles) in 1992, and Central Saint Martins (MA fashion textile/print) in 1994, before setting up her B.Earley studio with help from the Crafts Council and the Prince’s Trust. She hand-printed her award-winning fashion and accessory products on commission and for stockists worldwide until 2003. From 1996 onwards, she taught printed textiles at Chelsea College of Arts, before becoming a Textile Environment Design (TED) research fellow in 2002, and in 2010 director of the Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC) across both Chelsea and Central Saint Martins. Currently, as professor of sustainable textile and fashion design, she leads textile researchers at the University of the Arts, London, in international projects that bring her team’s design approaches together with scientific research in the sustainability fields of new fibers, recycling, consumer behavior, and policy.|
|Ariele Elia is an assistant curator of Costume and Textiles at The Museum at FIT. She has curated or co-curated a number of exhibitions, including Faking It: Originals, Copies, and Counterfeits; Fashion and Technology; and Global Fashion Capitals. Currently, she is co-curating Black Fashion Designers, set to open December 2016. Elia has lectured at Oxford, NYU, Eyebeam, and the University of Rhode Island. Her essay, “The Wardrobe of the Modern Athlete: Activewear in the 1930s,” was published in the book Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashion of the 1930s. She holds an MA in Fashion and Textiles: History, Theory, and Museum Practice from FIT, and a BA in art history from Saint Mary’s College of California.|
|James Gifford is a senior fellow at the Initiative for Responsible Investment at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he teaches and researches impact investing by family offices, focusing on the next generation of family members. He is also director of impact at Tau Investment Management, a private equity fund that invests in garment and textile manufacturers and transforms them into sustainable, ethical, and profitable enterprises. He was the founding executive director of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, taking the initiative from inception in 2003 and building it, over 10 years, into the pre-eminent global initiative on responsible investment, with 1,200 signatories representing $40 trillion in assets. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on responsible investment. Gifford has a PhD from the University of Sydney on the effectiveness of shareholder engagement in improving corporate environmental, social, and governance performance, degrees in commerce and law, and a master’s in environment management. He is also an adjunct professor at Griffith University and in 2010 was named by the World Economic Forum as one of 200 Young Global Leaders.|
Jennifer Gilbert currently serves as chief marketing officer of I:Collect (I:CO), a leading global solutions provider for the reuse and recycling of apparel, footwear, and other textiles. She is the driving force for I:CO’s North America division to keep textiles out of landfills and in a continuous closed-loop product cycle through its innovative take-back programs. She works with some of the largest apparel brands, such as Levi’s, The North Face, and H&M, to take on end-of-use product responsibility, and has empowered cities like San Francisco and consumers to help create a sustainable fashion future.
Gilbert speaks nationally about this important message, most recently at the 2015 United Nations NGO Conference and the 2016 Glasgow Caledonian University’s Fair Fashion Center. She serves on the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute’s Material Reuse Advisory Panel and Global Fashion Exchange Advisory Board.
For over 25 years, Gilbert has helped Fortune 500 companies create award-winning solutions to build and enhance their brands while empowering people and organizations to make a difference. Her skills in brand strategy, marketing communications, business development, strategic partnerships, production, and client services were honed through positions at high-profile advertising agencies such as TBWA/Chiat Day and J. Walter Thompson, marketing firms such as Maritz Interactions and The Ocean Group, entertainment icon Dick Clark Productions, and corporate brands such as I:CO.
|Susanne Goetz worked as a textile designer, lecturer, researcher, and project manager in Germany, Thailand, and the UK before becoming an assistant professor in the Textile/Surface Design Department at FIT. Her expertise is in printed textile design, with a focus on both traditional and digital approaches to design and production. Goetz has a strong interest in sustainability in the textile industry and the impact of new technology on teaching and learning in art and design. She frequently collaborates on multidisciplinary projects with designers and artists, including fashion, jewelry, event design, and accessories. Goetz holds an MSc in textile and apparel technology management from North Carolina State University and a BA in textile design from Hof University of Applied Sciences, Germany. She is a Fulbright Alumna and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).|
|Daniel Grushkin co-founded Genspace, the world’s first community laboratory, in Brooklyn, NY, In 2010. He is the director of of the lab’s cultural programs and the creator of the Biodesign Challenge, a multi-university program that asks art and design students, under the mentorship of their professors and professional scientists,to envision the future of biotechnology. A former fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, he wrote a white paper, “Seven Myths and Realities about Do-It-Yourself Biology,” that greatly influenced policy discussion on citizen science. He was an Emerging Leader in Biosecurity at the UPMC Center of Health Security in 2014. He has served as a chair of art and design at the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition, and co-curated the CUT/PASTE/GROW bioart show in Brooklyn. As a journalist, he has reported on the intersection of biotechnology, culture, and business for publications including Bloomberg Businessweek, Fast Company, Scientific American, and Popular Science. Grushkin has an MFA from Brooklyn College and a BA from Johns Hopkins University.|
|Nomi Dale Kleinman is a textile designer based in Brooklyn. In 2007 she joined the Textile/Surface Design Department at FIT as an assistant professor specializing in weave design. Nomi graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in fine arts, majoring in textiles. She went on to work for the high-end residential fabric house Scalamandre. She was recruited by American Silk Mills, Inc., where she worked in various roles including director of CAD design and senior designer for almost 10 years. At ASM, she designed for clients such as Mark Pollack, Beacon Hill, and Kravet. In 2003, she took a sabbatical from ASM and traveled to Africa and Southeast Asia, where she studied traditional weaving techniques in Laos. In 2004, she earned American Silk Mills’s Designer of the Year Award. At FIT, Kleinman co-coordinates the Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference and serves on the President’s Sustainability Council. In addition to teaching, she continues to design for clients in the textile industry.|
A fashion designer by training, Suzanne Lee is the creative director of Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn biotech startup growing cruelty-free animal-based products (materials and food). A thought leader and advocate for the emerging world of biofabrication, Lee founded the Biofabricate summit in 2014. This event brings together design, biology, and technology to grow a global community and lead a more sustainable vision of manufacture. It was described by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top nine conferences worth the time and money in 2015, alongside TED and Pop Tech. Lee coined the term “biocouture” in 2004 to describe her pioneering research growing clothing using living organisms. Biocouture garments have since been exhibited around the world and featured in many design books and across media. Her groundbreaking book, Fashioning the Future: Tomorrow’s Wardrobe, which presents the future of fashion through the lens of science and technology, remains a key text for designers, scientists, and brands wanting to understand wearable technology. Lee is a TED senior fellow and a NASA/Nike Launch innovator. Her “Grow your own clothes” TED Talk is approaching 1 million views and has been translated into 38 languages.
|Scott Morrison began his career in the denim business after moving to New York City in 1991 to run Jack Jeans, a new division of Mudd Jeans. The brand, though unsuccessful, was a critical piece in his denim education. In 1999, he started Paper Denim & Cloth (PDC), which would become the third largest premium denim brand in the U.S. by the time he left in 2004. PDC—one of the first brands in the U.S. to break the $100 retail price ceiling—was initially produced in the U.S. using Cone and Burlington fabrics; Morrison traveled to Europe and Asia on sourcing trips and worked with mills and laundries in Italy and Japan, as well as the famous Sights Denim Systems and Caitac Garment Processing. Morrison started Earnest Sewn in 2004, with the idea that the American heritage and denim’s historical significance were worth celebrating. He introduced customers to the best in global denim sourcing, timeless sewing construction, and the quality of American-made products. Earnest Sewn owned and operated retail stores in New York and LA, and was distributed through more than 800 retailers throughout the world. Morrison left the company in 2008 and took over as CEO/creative director of the iconic Japanese denim brand Evisu. Just 18 months later, the business was sold off. In 2011, Morrison partnered with Eric Rothfeld to launch his most ambitious project yet: 3x1. The concept was simple: reinvent the way people see denim, invite them into our process, and create an environment that captures their creative spirit in a completely new way. 3x1, in Manhattan’s SoHo, is part retail store and part glass-enclosed jeans factory. For the first time, customers could order jeans made to their specification and watch them being cut, sewn, and finished. The ‘atelier’ has expanded from a retail-only business into men’s and women’s wholesale, and currently sells to more than 200 of the finest retail stores in the world.|
|Kara Nicholas is the vice president of product design and marketing for Cone Denim, a world-renowned
global leader in denim authenticity and innovation since 1891. She is responsible
for the creative product direction and marketing of the brand. Nicholas has been
instrumental in leading the rebirth of the Cone Denim brand and establishing the Cone
Denim Archive and Design Studio. Designed for inspiration, the studio houses much
of the Cone archives and features original denim constructions and garments dating
back to the turn of the 20th century.
Working closely with R&D, technical development, and sales, Nicholas’s team tells
the story of American denim’s heritage and Cone’s 110-year-old White Oak mill through
the creation of vintage selvage styles replicated from the early 1900s as well as
today’s most advanced performance denims. The global reach of the Cone Denim story
continues to grow through its operations in the U.S., Mexico, and China, and its marketing
collaborations and co-branding initiatives with top brands.
Andrew Olah is the chief executive officer and majority owner of Olah Inc., and founder of the Kingpins Show, Andrew Olah has worked globally in textile development and marketing since 1976, specializing in denim for moderate and premium jeans. The Kingpins Show, the first denim supply chain trade show, was created in 2004 and runs biannually in New York, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong. For 11 years, Olah has served as consulting director of the Textile Development and Marketing denim and jeans brand development capstone project at FIT, where he is also a member of the department’s advisory board.
Amanda Parkes is a fashion technologist with over 10 years of experience in wearable technology, interaction design, smart materials, and fashion innovation. She is the chief of technology and research at Manufacture NY, a hybrid fashion incubator/factory/research facility in Brooklyn, NY, where she leads the development of a high-tech fashion and textiles R&D space with joint research around advanced digital fabrication, wearable electronics, and material science. She is a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab and an adjunct professor in the Columbia University Department of Architecture. She received a PhD and an MS in tangible media from the MIT Media Lab, and a BS in mechanical engineering (product design) and a BA in art history from Stanford University. She is an international speaker and lecturer at events including TED, DLD, PSFK, WEF, and The New York Times International Luxury Conference, and her design work has been awarded in forums including the ID Magazine Annual Design Review, the Prix Ars Electronica, and the D&AD Awards. She was named to the 2014 Business of Fashion 500 People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry.
Kavita Parmar is the founder and creative director of the IOU Project, based in Madrid. Coming from a family with old ties to India’s textile manufacturing tradition, Parmar started her own design studio at age 18, while still in university. Three years later, with the local license for Oshkosh B’Gosh, an American children’s apparel company, she opened 14 shops all over India. For the next five years, she designed and produced pieces for European and American brands. After living in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, and New York, she moved to Madrid and started her own collection as the Raasta brand.
William Reinisch is acting chair and assistant professor of the Entrepreneurship program in the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology at FIT. He is also on the faculty at Columbia University, New York University, and Stevens Institute of Technology, teaching a variety of courses related to entrepreneurship. Reinisch is a venture partner with Paladin Capital Group, responsible for sourcing and managing venture investments in the New York office. He is also the CEO and founder of XIV River Consulting LLC.
Reinisch previously served as vice president in Motorola’s strategy and technology organization, and was part of the company’s corporate venture capital group; prior to that, he was vice president of strategy and new initiatives. Before joining Motorola, Reinisch was senior vice president of operations and engineering at Magnolia Broadband.
|Roland Ricketts uses natural dyes and historical processes to create contemporary textiles that span art and design. Trained in indigo farming and dyeing in Japan, Ricketts received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and is currently an associate professor of studio art at Indiana University. His work has been exhibited at Cavin-Morris Gallery, Douglas Dawson Gallery, the Textile Museum (Washington, DC), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Ricketts is a recipient of a 2012 United States Artists Fellowship and a 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Award.|
|Jason Ross is an artist whose work is a series of inventions, showing the struggle to adapt within a world of evolving technology. He has been a writer, performance artist, factory owner, and a model, most visibly in the famous Calvin Klein CK One ads of the mid-’90s. An inventor’s son, Ross has an intimate appreciation of the beauty of machines. His work harks back to the industrial revolution, drawing on images in 19th-century engineering journals. In 2010, he moved to New York to focus on his accessories business. He collaborated with Donna Karan for 18 seasons, creating belts and jewelry for her Collection, until it closed in 2015. He also did some development work for Helmut Lang and Rick Owens, showing a capsule collection at Owens’s Paris store in 2012. Ross’s wholesale collection, Artemas Quibble, is available at luxury boutiques including Urban Zen, ABC Home, and Elu by Cristina Nicoletti. His work has been featured in WWD, W, German Vogue, T, and other magazines. He has guest lectured at Parsons and FIT.|
|Ajoy K. Sarkar is an associate professor of Textile Development and Marketing at FIT. He holds undergraduate degrees in chemistry and textile chemistry from the University of Mumbai and MS and PhD degrees in textile sciences from the University of Georgia. His expertise includes fibers, textile coloration, finishing, product development, textile testing and analysis, and application of textile technology to design. His areas of research are sustainable textiles and smart protective textiles. Sarkar is author/co-author of numerous publications and research abstracts presented at national and international conferences. He also serves as an associate editor for the AATCC Journal of Research and is a member of the International Textile and Apparel Association.|
|Yukako Santone, a pioneer of Saori weaving in the U.S., became a certified Saori instructor in 2005
and opened a studio called Loop of the Loom. She studied visual design at Kyoto Seika
University in Japan, and moved to New York, working as an assistant art director for
an advertising agency and a freelance graphic designer for more than 10 years. Satone
encountered Misao Jo, the founder of Saori weaving, on a vacation in Japan a month
before her traumatic experience of 9/11. She practiced Saori as a form of healing,
and hosted her first Saori workshop near ground zero for friends and children in grief
after the tragedy. Through hands-on demonstration as a public art activity, she realized
that therapeutic Saori was not only for healing, but also for discovering the joy
Satone now teaches Saori weaving, Japanese dyeing techniques using bengala and indigo, spinning, needle felting, and wet felting at Loop of the Loom and elsewhere. She has been coaching the Saori method in the local and global community, and received grants from Peace Stone Foundation as a teaching artist in Senegal and Haiti. She also selects sustainable products from Japan and introduces them through Loop of the Loom.
|Matthew Scanlon Matthew Scanlan is the co-founder and CEO of Naadam Cashmere, a socially conscious luxury brand that sources cashmere from Mongolian herders. The company launched in 2012. Previously, Scanlan spent a year at an executive recruiting firm in New York before moving to the venture capital/private equity firm Accretive LLC, building out rapid-growth incubator business in the BPO (business process outsourcing) and healthcare sector. He is an advisor to the Gobi Revival Fund NGO, based in Mongolia, which works to sustain the culture of the nomadic herding people of the Gobi Desert.|
|Theanne Schiros, PhD, is an assistant professor at FIT, where she teaches physics, chemistry, and sustainability courses. She is a faculty advisor for the Columbia University Maker Space and for FIT’s biodesign challenge (bioesters.com), guiding students on how to rethink textiles through technology, biology, and sustainable design. She is also an adjunct research scientist at Columbia University’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, as well as the diversity liaison, working collaboratively across the Center for Precision Assembly of Superstratic and Superatomic Solids (PAS) to explore 2D materials for future electronic devices and catalysts for clean energy applications. Schiros is engaged in international sustainability work with organizations such as Engineers without Borders and the Finca Morpho Permaculture collective. She has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and has been the recipient of multiple grants to support her work, including the NYSERDA Fellowship, the Columbia University EFRC Fellowship, and the Hunter College Fellowship for Academic Excellence in Teaching.|
|Stefan Siegel is the founder and CEO of Not Just a Label (NJAL), the world’s leading platform for showcasing and nurturing pioneers in contemporary fashion. A native of South Tyrol--the German-speaking part of the Triveneto region in Northern Italy--he attended Venice’s prestigious military college, the Francesco Morosini Naval School. He then studied economics in Vienna, where he gained experience in the fashion and media industry working for prestigious design houses and advertising agencies. Following a successful modeling career that took him to five continents, he earned his MA in international business administration in 2004 at the Vienna University of Economics. After graduation, he worked for the renowned finance companies Ernst & Young and Sal. Oppenheim in Switzerland, and the Merrill Lynch M & A Investment Banking group in New York and London, specializing in the consumer and retail sector and advising publicly listed fashion powerhouses. Siegel used that experience to launch Not Just a Label with his brother Daniel. Launched on a shoestring in 2008, NJAL is now the leading global platform for emerging fashion designers, representing over 21,000 designers from 150 countries. Ranking among the most respected websites in the fashion industry, it is an infinitely expanding destination devoted to facilitating growth in the industry and a distinctive creative hub fostering innovation.|
|Jeffrey Silberman is a professor and chairperson of the Textile Development and Marketing Department in the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology at FIT. In addition, he is a consultant to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) Secretariat, and serves as executive director of the International Forum for Cotton Promotion (IFCP). He has designed and implemented textile programs in more than 15 countries, and was a site guide for the Apparel and Home Textiles Internet Industry Channel for About.com. Silberman was a director of marketing for Cotton Incorporated, and prior to that, technical director for United Merchants and Manufacturers, Inc. Silberman holds a Master of Textiles (MR) degree from North Carolina State University, College of Textiles, a BS in textile marketing and design from Philadelphia University, and advanced management program certificates in finance and accounting from the Wharton School of Business and marketing management from the Columbia Graduate School of Business.|
|Liz Spencer lives, gardens, and dyes in Brooklyn, New York. Her business, The Dogwood Dyer, imparts color onto cloth for sustainable fashion and home goods designers using only plants, flowers, barks, berries, and roots. Her pigments come from locally grown and foraged plants as well as ethically sourced dyestuffs. Care is taken to reduce water use in the dyeing process and a significant portion of the refuse water is recycled back into her dye gardens in urban Brooklyn street-side tree guards. An advocate for considerate design implementation in education, Spencer teaches sustainability, fashion, and natural dyeing at Parsons The New School for Design and FIT. She is a venture fellow at the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator and holds a BA from Linfield College and an MA in sustainable fashion from the London College of Fashion.|
Ruth Spencer is the director of sales and marketing at Sourcemap, a supply chain mapping software company. Sourcemap helps manufacturers and brands trace products from raw materials to end consumers, and in the process save money, reduce risk, and improve social and environmental compliance. Her work at Sourcemap focuses on companies that are interested in mapping their supply chain for transparency and sustainability, and she is leading the launch for Open Sourcemap, a free open-source version of the Sourcemap software due for release this summer. Spencer has a background in sustainability and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study climate change in Norway. She also taught high school math as a part of Teach for America and is finishing a master’s in Sustainability Management at Columbia University.
|Tara St. James is production coordinator and research fellow in the Sustainable Strategies Lab for
Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. Born and raised in Montreal,
St James spent ten years designing men’s and women’s wear in Canada and the U.S. before
launching Study NY, a women's RTW brand defined by conceptual design and sustainability.
Study cuts and sews collections in New York City’s Garment District using ethical
fabrics and production methods, and collaborates with artisans around the world.
Study NY was awarded the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Grant for sustainable design in 2011 and was a runner-up in the CFDA/Lexus Eco Fashion Challenge in 2014. In 2013, St James's Anti-[fashion]-Calendar was named to the Sustainia100 list of solutions for sustainability, a global initiative spearheaded by Arnold Schwarzenegger to promote innovative solutions across all industries.St James earned a degree in menswear tailoring in 1997 from LaSalle College School of Fashion Design in Montreal, one of Canada’s top design programs.
|Sayaka Toyama Sayaka Toyama is the founder and director of Buaisou Brooklyn, launched in 2014 as a satellite studio of Buaisou, an indigo-dyeing collective in Tokushima, Japan. It maintains a fermented-indigo vat with sukumo (composted indigo leaves) from Tokushima, hosts a variety of workshops, and provides dyeing services to individuals and brands.|
|Rebecca Van Bergen is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization Nest. Over nearly ten years, she has led Nest to bring unprecedented visibility and viability to women who make up the global community of artisans and homeworkers. Her dedication to tackling some of the least glamorous and most widely ignored issues in a glamorous field has established her as a refreshing young voice within the industry. and founded Nest at the young age of 24. Her accolades include selection as one of 12 Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) Social Impact Fellows in 2015 and complimentary Clinton Global Initiative membership in 2015 and 2016. Van Bergen is regularly quoted in international media stories for The New York Times, NPR, Quartz, The Guardian, Elle, Glamour, and more. She has been honored as a PBS change maker and a CNN “Young Person Who Rocks.” She has a master’s degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.|
MeiLin Wan is vice president of textile sales for Applied DNA Sciences, a company that creates solutions addressing supply chain security, brand protection, and law enforcement applications. As leader of the company’s Textiles Group, Wan is actively involved in the global effort to ensure that reliable, high quality, and safe textiles products are manufactured in safe, ethical, and efficient environments. She is responsible for initiating new programs, such as “Know Your Supply Chain,” which helps customers better understand how the company’s SigNature T DNA systems can safeguard their supply chains against product recalls and liability, while maintaining profitability and market differentiation. Wan is also the lead business and project development manager for key partners and clients, including ITW Pillar Technologies, Wakefield Inspection Services, Nissha Printing Company, C.F. Martin & Company, Solvay, and other Fortune 500 companies. She has over 20 years’ experience in the biotechnology, consumer products, and personal care industries, specializing in marketing, sales, strategic, and international management.
Kenta Watanabe founded Buaisou, a traditional indigo-dyeing collective in Tokushima, Japan, with
his pupil Kakuo Kaji in 2012. Watanabe apprenticed under Osamu Nii, a sixth-generation
indigo master, and Buaisou operates indigo farms and conducts workshops in fermenting
sukumo (composted indigo leaves) and indigo dyeing. The company provides dyeing services
to international brands and produces an original collection of clothing and home goods.
Watanabe and his colleagues have hosted workshops in New York, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Sasha Wright, PhD, is a plant biologist and theoretical ecologist, a former National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and an assistant professor of ecology at FIT. She studies how plants interact with each other in severe environments and how biodiversity may buffer against the most severe impacts of climate change. She has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and is the editor of the PLOS Ecology blog.