SMART Talks: The show will welcome and bring together truly renowned speakers!

Check out the program

Devon Leahy

VP Sustainability Ralph Lauren

As VP of Sustainability at Ralph Lauren, Devon leads the company’s product and environmental sustainability strategy, including setting and driving progress against our public commitments to design, source and operate more sustainably. 

Devon has a long history of working in both the environmental and corporate sustainability fields with leading NGOs such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Environmental Law Institute and in government posts at the Environmental Protection Agency and on Capitol Hill. Devon has worked inside major corporations including Walmart, where she led product and supply chain initiatives and consumer facing marketing campaigns, and Etsy where she built the company’s first sustainability team and was responsible for Etsy’s public commitments to being powered by 100% renewable electricity and achieving zero waste operations by 2020, and running a carbon neutral marketplace. 

Devon has also spent years in sustainability consulting, developing sustainability and corporate social responsibility strategies for companies including Google, PVH, VF Corp, NBCUniversal and Target.

Devon holds an MBA in Strategy and Marketing and an MS in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute as well as a BA in Environmental Policy, Government and Art History from Colby College.

Lucy Jones

Founder of FFORA

Lucy Jones is a designer residing in NYC with a focus on design accessibility. She is the founder of FFORA, a fashion lifestyle brand that creates products primarily for the disability community with the belief that good design should be accessible to all. Originally from Wales, Jones studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design, New York. Her award-winning collection, ‘Seated Design’, granted her Parsons’ Womenswear Designer of the year 2015, as well as the Kering ‘Empowering Imagination’ award and Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2016. 

More recently FFORA won the lead prize in the inaugural ‘Elaine Gold Launch Pad’, a program created by the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) in partnership with the Accessories Council to nurture emerging fashion businesses zero to three years out. FFORA was also one of the participating companies at XRC Labs, an accelerator in the retail and consumer goods industries sponsored by Parsons School of Design and Accenture.

Upon graduation Jones worked at Eileen Fisher in partnership with the CFDA, the project concluded with a scalable, profitable and sustainable solution for the unsellable post-consumer garments. The work lives on today under the label Remade. Jones work was also recently featured and acquired into MoMA’s (Museum of Modern Art) permanent collection and displayed in MoMA’s exhibit ‘Items: Is fashion Modern?’ and has exhibited commissioned work at the Museum of Art and Design and Fashion Institute of Technology.

As well as winning numerous prestigious leadership and design awards, Jones’ work has been written about in numerous publications such as The New York Times, Vogue.com, Business of Fashion, BBC, CFDA, NPR, Forbes, Fast Company, Seventeen Magazine, WWD, Id Vice, Independence Care Systems, AOL online, ITV Wales, Vogue, The Impression, Plan de Ville, Fashionista amongst others. 

Activities

  • Worked with Eileen Fisher on Remade Project x CFDA 2015-16
  • Completed the CFDA Elaine Gold x Accessories Council Launch Pad last February and won the lead prize.
  • Been working on new lifestyle brand FFORA for the past 2 years completed 2 x fundraises for the company so far.
  • Mission to support the disability population and assist in elevating disability / accessible design. Emphasis on opportunity creation in the community and making sure voices are heard.
  • Currently exhibiting work in Milan’s “Broken Nature” interantional exhibit curated by MoMA’s Paola Antonelli
  • Launching FFORA this summer.

 

Domenica Leibowitz

Creative Consultant 

Domenica Leibowitz is a creative consultant who leverages a range of hands-on experiences to bring fresh and insightful thinking to projects in fashion, sustainability, and advertising.

In 2018, Domenica wrote the CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies, a comprehensive guide that seeks to provide a “how to” overview for achieving sustainability in fashion by simplifying its myriad complex challenges into clear, digestible resources and actions. It was published in 2019 as an open-source resource on the CFDA website.

Domenica has collaborated with many brands and organizations in a creative capacity. She began her career working with pioneers in ethical fashion including People Tree and Fair Trade USA. In 2010 she co-founded and ran a sustainable fashion non-profit that concentrated on building coalitions within the sustainable fashion industry as well as educating companies and consumers about best practices in apparel production and consumption. Simultaneously, Domenica studied and worked with master craftspeople to learn the art of couture fashion design, pattern-making, and sewing, and ran her own sustainable fashion label. In addition to sustainable fashion, her creative work extends to art direction and production design, with recent clients including Veuve Clicquot, The Emmys, Surface Magazine, Raquel Allegra, Rothy’s, HBO, & Netflix.

She has worked and lived in Brussels, Florence, London, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, New York City, and is now based in Los Angeles.

Angela Luna

founder of ADIFF 

Angela Luna is the Founder & Creative Director of ADIFF, a socially-conscious clothing brand that utilizes the fashion industry to create aid and awareness for global displacement. Coming from a background in design, she saw the unrealized potential of the fashion industry to have substantial humanitarian impact and sought to create change. Since launching her brand, Angela has become a winner of the CFDA Elaine Gold Launch Pad, a Forbes 30 Under 30 list-maker, and has been hailed as an award-winning solution-based designer. She is committed to using design for good, creating products and services that better the world. She identifies as a designer, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and (most importantly) a human being.

ADIFF grew out of Founder Angela Luna’s thesis collection from Parsons, which was designed to address key issues faced by refugees suffering from the current crisis in the Middle East and Europe. Since the brand’s 2017 launch, it has received massive public attention, including a viral Insider video, Microsoft ad, and countless articles. ADIFF started out as a buy-one-give-one brand, committed to donating solution-based products to displaced persons, but has since transitioned to an impact model that focuses on creating long term solutions. The company aims to empower people who are displaced, create innovative products and business model structure, and promote a sustainable supply chain.

Isaac Nichelson

CEO/Co-Founder at Circular Systems SPC

A creative leader and entrepreneur with 25 years of apparel industry experience. Isaac is known for propelling cutting-edge product and market innovation in the realms of sustainability and circular resource efficiency.

Nichelson has built and led several brands and manufacturers to industry-wide notoriety, and has focused on propelling cutting-edge sustainability through his work in fashion for more than 20 years.

In 2007, California Apparel News dubbed Nichelson “Eco-Johnny Appleseed” due to his growing reputation for being a very passionate and committed early-stage promoter of sustainable textiles and fashion.

Isaac possesses a comprehensive fashion industry knowledge base. Extending from the origins of fiber, to yarn and textile formation, product M&D— all the way through the branding, marketing, global distribution and leadership of fashion and textile companies.

A visionary creative leader, connector, and communicator, Isaac collaborates regularly with product/sustainability leadership and C-suite operators of most of the worlds major apparel brands, as well as working closely with the leadership of many global NGO’s.

In 2017, Isaac had the honor to be listed as an expert contributor to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Fiber Initiative Report, and is regarded as a thought leader in the realm of circularity/sustainability.

The Agraloop

The Agraloop™ Bio-Refinery transforms food crop waste into high-value natural fiber products in a cost competitive and scalable way, providing sustainable and regenerative benefits. The Agraloop™ can utilize a range of feed stocks including oilseed hemp and oilseed flax straw as well as pineapple leaves, banana trunks and sugar cane bark.

Johanna Sapicas

Oversees and manages the Resource Hub, the Materials Index, and the office sustainability initiatives at CFDA

Johanna Sapicas is key part of the Education + Professional Development team at CFDA. Johanna supported the project team (including Domenica Peterson and Lauren Croke) for the CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies, and Sustainable Strategies Toolkit. Under Domenica’s leadership, she aided in the research, development, and assembly of the CFDA Sustainability Resource Hub and the Materials Index all of which was released in January 2019. Currently, she manages the day-to-day upkeep and continued development of all the aforementioned sustainability resources at the CFDA and is a Fashion Design student at Parsons School of Design.

Cara Smyth

Vice President of Glasgow Caledonian New York College (GCNYC) and founder of the world renowned Fair Fashion Center (FFC).  

An executive board member of Glasgow Caledonian, Ms. Smyth is responsible for the establishment of GCNYC to become the first international institution of higher education in the United States to receive degree granting authority. Ms. Smyth leads the University’s New York campus by instilling its mission “For the Common Good” throughout all of its programs and initiatives.

Recognizing the integrated issues facing both the fashion industry and the world, Ms. Smyth leveraged her extensive apparel industry expertise to launch The Fair Fashion Center (FFC), focusing on intersection of profitability and sustainability.  Collaborating with 35 CEOs (representing 242 brands, $256B in annual business and 11% of the global business) on collective action, the FFC is operationalizing and implementing concrete business solutions that scale systemic change.  Creating a paradigm shift, the FFC is redesigning the industry by facilitating the incorporation of sustainable practices into fashion, proving the business for sustainability.

This year alone, Ms. Smyth has been invited to give the keynote address at the Textile Exchange conference in Milan, present at the 5th annual bluesignä conference, and speak as a leading executive in sustainability at the annual WWD CEO Summit.

She is also the founder of The IN Between, a consultancy that works to close the gap between the worlds of fashion, sustainability, finance, innovation, non-profits and for-profits by creating cross-sector partnerships.

 

A veteran in retail and wholesale business, Ms. Smyth joined the school from an illustrious career of management, brand building and global scaling.  She is the former CEO of Menichetti International, where she provided strategic business management to both the brand and the company’s other consultancies, including a diverse range of fashion and manufacturing firms.  As a director at Burberry Prorsum, she played an integral role in developing the Burberry turnaround strategy, which re-launched the brand by blending English heritage with modern street style. With Ms. Smyth’s input, the business was re-positioned, resulting in storied growth and international expansion.  

Prior to Burberry, Ms. Smyth was the President of Jil Sander America, where she guided the brand’s unprecedented international expansion and launched its inaugural men’s line.  She began her career at Hugo Boss.

A native New Yorker, Ms. Smyth has long been a multi-lingual global citizen, having lived all over the world during her career in luxury fashion.  In her role bridging the industry, academia and a sustainable future, she now serves on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Global Advisory Council, Sing for Hope, Sustainability Advisory Council for Marie Claire, and is a Tribeca Disrupter. 

François Souchet

Project Manager at the Ellen MacArthur foundation

Francois joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2016 to work with its Global Partners such as Google and H&M, to help drive circular economy innovation. In 2018, following the launch of the report ‘A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future’, Francois moved to lead Make Fashion Circular, shaping the programme to be a truly disruptive force within the industry.

Having studied in Paris and Melbourne and working internationally, he now finds himself based in the UK leading a team dedicated to redesigning the fashion industry, based on circular economy principles. This new approach ensures that clothes are made from safe and renewable materials, new business models increase their use and old clothes are turned into new. 

Moderator: Giusy Bettoni

Sustainability Consultant for Smart Creation

Giusy Bettoni is 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 within the raw material market development sector, and ingredient branding approach working for major international organizations. She has dedicated the last 10 years focusing on communicating and developing a clear message of key competitive advantage role of innovating in a responsible way in the textile and, fashion market. She is also Sustainability Consultant for Smart Creation for Premiere Vision, the leading “fabric” fair at international level.