Innovation is a key driver toward more sustainable solutions – from blockchain technology and applications to address supply chain traceability, to new ways of doing business. Systems thinkers, social innovators, researchers and scientists are working to solve the many issues we are facing. As our industry moves to a more Circular Economy, WEAR 2018 will explore the many available technologies and innovations that brands and retailers are using to achieve their sustainability goals. These themes will be explored through panel discussions, keynotes, fireside chats, workshops and ted-like talks.
Since 2014, WEAR has provided a unique forum to share examples of both local and global leadership, best practices and innovative solutions with the North American apparel and textile industry. As the only sustainable business conference focused on the apparel industry, every speaker and session is relevant to the work you are doing.
Join us as we learn from this year’s group of experts, share your ideas, ask the tough questions and together build meaningful and lasting relationships. Gain insights that will contribute to your overall business profitability and sustainability. WEAR 2018 will leave you inspired and equipped to innovate and take your business to the next level.
WEAR is a must attend event for sustainable fashion. The conference attracts a who’s who of people involved in the transformation of the fashion industry.
Presenting at WEAR2017 was an amazing experience. It was wonderful to be able to share the results of the ground-breaking OEKO-TEXR global consumer survey with a diverse and knowledgeable audience but – equally important - I was exposed to so much about key aspects of the industry right now and into the future. It was a masterful learning experience and a pleasure to be there.
Having started her professional show biz career at the age of 16, Jeanne Beker studied acting in New York and mime in Paris before moving to St. John’s Newfoundland in 1975 to cover arts for CBC radio.
Three years later, she landed a job at Toronto’s CHUM radio, and in 1979, helped launch the ground-breaking series, The New Music, on CITY TV, which she co-hosted for 6 years. A founding member of MuchMusic, Jeanne continued to trail blaze and in 1985, launched the legendary Fashion Television, which she presented in over 130 countries for 27 years.
A seasoned newspaper columnist and features writer, Jeanne was editor-in-chief of FQ and SIR magazines from 2003 to 2008, has authored five books and is a frequent keynote speaker and guest on myriad lifestyle shows. She’s been at the creative helm of numerous fashion lines under her own eponymous label, and since 2015, has been Style Editor for The Shopping Channel, where she currently hosts the series “Style Matters”.
Active with several charitable organizations, she received an honourary doctorate from St. Mary’s University and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Special Achievement Award from the Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television and a Crystal Award from Toronto Women in Film and Television. Jeanne was inducted into the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Legends in 2015 and received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2016. In 2014, she was named to the Order of Canada.
World Vision Canada has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts calling on Canada to adopt supply chain legislation to address the worst forms of child labour. Canadian textile and apparel imports at high-risk of involving child and forced labour have grown remarkedly. Daniel Wilcox is a public engagement and advocacy specialist with World Vision Canada, coordinating the organizations No Child for Sale campaign. He has spent the last 7 years leading advocacy campaigns within World Vision Canada around maternal and child health, and children in conflict settings. Prior to World Vision, he worked with community development organizations in Kenya, India, and Ghana.
Simon Chorley serves as International Programs Manager at UNICEF Canada. He is the organization's focal point on innovation, government resource mobilization, and business engagement on children’s rights. UNICEF is taking an innovative factory engagement approach in Bangladesh and Vietnam, working with garment manufacturers to explore solutions for improved business practices that impact working mothers and their children. Prior to his role at UNICEF Canada, Simon served for six years as UK Coordinator for a leading international anti-human trafficking organization in London, England. He was born in Manchester, England, grew up in East Africa, and currently lives in Ontario, Canada, with his wife and two children.
Rami Helali is the Co-Founder and CEO of Kotn, a Toronto-based direct-trade clothing company that specializes in the creation of luxury essentials made ethically in Egypt using 100% Egyptian cotton. Launching and overseeing the business and operations in Canada, Egypt and most recently the brand's brick-and-mortar expansion into the US, Rami is tasked with ensuring company and community growth, working hands-on with investors and farmers alike. Kotn's social enterprise initiatives have helped to revitalize Egypt's cotton industry and build 2 schools for underprivileged Egyptian youth, both in 3 years of business. A Richard Ivey School of Business graduate from Western University, Rami previously worked in private equity as Director of Business Development in New York. Rami has been recognized in Forbes' global 30 Under 30, as well as the Forbes Arab 30 Under 30.
Karen Newman has served as a Consultant for the United Nations in various capacities for more than 10 years, working on building partnerships and visibility for the Sustainable Development Goals, most recently as part of UN DOCO to launch the new Joint SDG Fund for the 2030 Agenda and prior to this within UNDP for the SDG Fund and UNCDF devising communication and outreach services to new partners and specialized industry sectors, including fashion/apparel, health and technology.
She has also worked at ECOSOC on the Partnership Forum and related programs linked to the Post 2015 Agenda. Prior to this she was the Senior Communications Consultant for UNDP’s Business Call to Action.
Karen spent two years with the US Mission to the UN within the U.S. State Department where she was a Fellow working in both the Foreign Press Center and the Public Affairs section. In addition, Karen has extensive experience working within the UN system, including various roles at UNDP, the ILO and the Foundation for the Global Compact. During her career in the public, private and international sectors she has developed expertise with building strategic partnerships, resource mobilization, corporate responsibility and economic development.
Her partnership work also includes outreach to the diplomatic community and consulting for varied companies including Microsoft Africa and Philips Healthcare, as well as promoting large UN initiatives related to the Millennium Development Goals. She managed the World Business Development Awards in conjunction with IBLF, the International Chamber of Commerce and UNDP, and promoted the launch of the Business Call to Action in New York and South Africa. She also served as the first Secretary and Treasurer for the Foundation for the Global Compact.
Karen’s experience with government includes varied economic development posts for the City of New York and Chicago city governments. In Chicago, she worked at The Michael Jordan Foundation and United Way in community affairs and grantmaking. Karen also hosted and curated the inaugural TEDx UN Plaza and is active in sustainability issues for Fair Fashion and in Crowdfunding for social good. Karen has an MBA and MSW from the University of Chicago
Adria Vasil is one of Canada's most prominent environmental journalists and green experts. She's the author of the bestselling Ecoholic book series and wrote the longrunning Ecoholic column for Toronto's NOW Magazine, where she covered sustainable fashion issues extensively. Prior to being a journalist, Adria worked in the nonprofit sector researching labour rights concerns in the apparel industry. She also owned a small Toronto-based clothing company. As an advocate for green living, she's been featured in countless media outlets, including the Globe & Mail, CBC, CTV, the Huffington Post, MTV and more. Adria is currently teaching journalism at Ryerson University.
Craig is Director, Social Entrepreneurship at BDC, the only bank in Canada devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. He leads its efforts to grow the entrepreneurial movement of certified Beneficial corporations (B Corps).
Craig has more than 20 years’ experience in the public, private and civil society sectors. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School. He is a guest lecturer at McGill University’s business school and a member of the board of directors of Rise Asset Development.
Vanessa Grellet is a Global Executive with over 17 years of expertise in the Financial Services and Tech industry. At ConsenSys she focuses on Enterprise and Strategic initiatives and leads the Luxury goods, lifestyle and arts as well as the social impact activities. She also was involved in setting up the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), sits on the Board of the Accounting Blockchain coalition (ABC) and is the President of the Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition (BSIC). Prior to Joining ConsenSys she was the CEO of IIH a Wealth Management firm, a key member of PwC’s global wealth management team and served as a corporate strategy executive for the NYSE managing a portfolio of strategic projects, partnerships and M&A focusing on Derivatives, Cash markets, Clearing, Listing, Market data and Regulatory reform. She is a former securities lawyer and worked for various regulators. She chairs the Nexus Working Group on Impact Investing, dedicated to educating, empowering, and connecting Next-Gen impact investors, philanthropists, and social entrepreneurs. Vanessa is an Advisory Board member of Cornerstone Capital, an ESG asset manager, sits on the Advisory Board of The Resolution Project dedicated to activating young leaders through social entrepreneurship and is a Partner at Acumen fund focused on impact investing. She is a Milken Institute Young Leader and a Young Leader Board member of the Off the Record lectures series (OTR) affiliated with the Foreign Policy Association. Mrs. Grellet graduated Cum Laude from Law School (Paris II Assas) and Business School (HEC).
Cory works to enable the scaling of circular and sustainable business models, with a focus on the textile and apparel industries. Currently consulting with FWD Impact, she builds on her experience in apparel resale, B2B materials exchange, and zero-waste strategy to support brands and other stakeholders in the shift to a circular textile economy. Recent work includes circularity strategy for Eileen Fisher, Patagonia, Outerknown, and re-manufacturing facilities, including Triple Bottom Line financial modeling and carbon reduction planning. She also partners with fashion educators and incubators to support a systems-shift through early stage companies.
A graduate of the Bard MBA in Sustainability, Cory also holds a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Based in Austin, TX, working with teams and clients everywhere.
Dale Floer co-founded Scalable Garments so that people could get affordable bespoke knitwear quickly and sustainably. He is working to make clothing better for people and the planet though development of innovative knitting hardware as well as 3D design and simulation software to digitally prototype custom knits. Dale has been programming for over 20 years, and brings an outsider’s perspective to the apparel industry. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games and puzzling apart similar birds while birdwatching.
As an accomplished team leader and industry expert in the realm of not-for-profit thrift retail, Tonny has represented The Salvation Army Thrift Store National Recycling Operation since 2013. Tonny currently occupies the position of National Donations Manager. She has been instrumental in establishing The Salvation Army Canada as a national and global leader in textile reuse and recycling; her friendly and enthusiastic reputation has earned her numerous speaking opportunities and partnerships.
Tonny represents The Salvation Army through her participation in several associations including the National Zero Waste Council Circular Economy Working Group, as a board member with Nova Scotia’s Association for Textile Recycling (AFTeR), as a steering committee member and co-founder of the National Association for Charitable Textile Recycling (NAC),as a steering committee with Ontario Textile Diversion Collaborative and more.
Known for her practical, innovative style, she is always looking to encourage everyone to help move the needle on Textile Diversion in Canada.
Steven is the Founder of ESG Ledger, a start-up designing a blockchain platform to manage Environmental, Social and Governance data for disclosure, audit and investment. Most recently he was the Executive Director of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) - one of Canada’s longest running business networks dedicated to sustainability.
Steven started his early career in the streetwear industry; first working for a distributor of skateboard apparel and snowboard outerwear and later as a regional representative for a major sunglasses & goggles brand. After porting his sales experience over to technology for a number of years, he returned to the industry to open Canada’s first ethical vegan shoe shop, Left Feet.
Steven currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the St. Michael’s College Sustainability & CSR Program at the University of Toronto, and as a Leadership Faculty member for the Conference Board of Canada’s Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Institute.
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell was invested as Ontario’s 29th Lieutenant Governor on September 23, 2014. Her eclectic public service career has spanned provincial, federal, and international borders, and has transcended disciplinary and sectoral lines.
Ms. Dowdeswell began her professional career as a teacher and university lecturer. After serving as the Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth for the Government of Saskatchewan, she held increasingly senior positions in the Canadian public service, most notably as head of the Atmospheric Environment Service. Throughout this period, she managed several public inquiries and royal commissions.
Her international negotiating experiences prefaced her election in 1992 as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. Upon returning to Canada in 1998, she established an international consulting practice and became the founding President and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. Immediately prior to her appointment as Lieutenant Governor, Ms. Dowdeswell was the President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. She has also served on numerous boards of corporate and non-profit organizations.
Ms. Dowdeswell was born in Northern Ireland and immigrated to rural Saskatchewan with her parents in 1947. She earned a Bachelor of Science in home economics and teaching certificate from the University of Saskatchewan (1966) and a Master of Science in behavioural sciences from Utah State University (1972). An Officer of the Order of Canada, Ms. Dowdeswell holds 11 honorary degrees.
Marie O’Mahony is Founder + Director of O’Mahony Consultancy, Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art (RCA), Leadership Council Member, intelliWEAR and a PhD candidate in advanced and smart textiles at SMARTlab, University College Dublin (UCD). Marie has worked extensively with sustainability and ethics as a consultant for brands such as NIKE and Coach and written on the subject as it relates to fashion, sportswear, Wearable Technology and textiles. She has written six books, five of these with Thames and Hudson the most recent being Advanced Textiles for Health and Wellbeing (2011). Marie writes regularly on the subject of sustainability and ethics for a number of publications including EcoTextiles, Advanced Textiles Source and Innovation in Textiles.
Ellen Karp is the founder of Anerca International Inc., a consumer research and strategy company that counts many Fortune 500 companies among its clients. Karp became interested in textile sustainability over a decade ago and in early 2017 was fortunate enough to be commissioned by OEKO-TEX®, the global textile certifier, to conduct an in-depth study in ten countries in commemoration of their 25th Anniversary. It was the first of its kind to report on textile sustainability from a strictly consumer perspective.
The results of the survey were ground-breaking and she has been delighted to have been able to present them to diverse groups of people worldwide, both those within and without the trade, including WEAR 2017 and FashionSustain Berlin 2018.
This year at WEAR, she is sharing new material about responsible clothing consumption, focusing on Canadian and American findings and their interpretation.
Adam Baruchowitz spent the first stage of his career as a day trader and running a day trader firm. His life was changed when his partner was hit by a car and left paralyzed. He then founded Wearable Collections as a project to raise both money and awareness for spinal cord injury research. What started as a project in 2004, by placing large clothing recycling bins inside of residential buildings, turned into a mandate. Wearable Collections has since led the way in creating innovative hubs of clothing, shoes and textile collections in the New York City metro area. Since its inception, Wearable Collections has diverted nearly 20 million pounds of clothing and textiles from landfills, pioneering convenient collections with its in-building, greenmarket, and school programs. Through its extensive work in the fashion capital of the world, Wearable Collections has lend its expertise to many brands helping to navigate the path to becoming more sustainable
David McCann is a passionate expert on environmental protection, clean energy and climate change, with international experience across the private, non-profit, and public sectors. He manages operations, strategy, technical support and intellectual property for ColorZen LLC, a textile technology company based in New York and North Carolina. ColorZen’s revolutionary pretreatment technology makes cotton easier, quicker and less polluting to dye, which is saving water and energy and increasing productivity and quality in dyehouses across the world.
David moved to the United States in 2005 to complete a master’s degree at Columbia University Law School as a Fulbright Scholar. From 2006, David worked at the Clinton Foundation in New York, leading a range of climate change and energy projects with private and government partners around the world.
In 2010, he returned to Australia as senior adviser to the Federal Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water. Over the next four years, he was successively promoted within the environment and health portfolios to become a Chief of Staff and one of the five most senior ministerial advisers nationally.
David grew up Tasmania, and received degrees in economics and law from the University of Melbourne. David clerked for the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia in Canberra, and has practiced as an attorney in Victoria.
Natalie Festa is the co-founder of Boro, an online marketplace for peer-to-peer clothing rentals. Natalie is a CPA, CA and earned a BBA from the Schulich School of Business. She has also completed a certificate in Disruptive Strategy from Harvard School of Business. Boro began as a B2C rental company and is in the process of incorporating B2B opportunities to take it to the next level. Boro has visions of working with retailers and boutiques to link their e-commerce and business strategy to achieve circularity.
Prior to Boro, Natalie has worked with FTA's school education program as well as with fashion artisans in East Africa and consulting with KPMG for 4 years.
Margaret L. Bishop is an accomplished veteran of the global textile and apparel industry. Her career spans manufacturing, international trade, and academia. She currently consults to brands and manufacturers worldwide, and teaches at New York City’s leading fashion universities, Parsons New School for Design, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Of keen interest to her are the changes underway in society and technology, including the burgeoning use of data and robotics, that are driving new ways of doing business. Ms. Bishop holds a MPS in Global Fashion Management, as well as a degree in Textile Technology, and a MBA. She is a member of the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) International Advisory Group.
Jay Bolus is one of the most authoritative speakers on the human and environmental impacts of products and materials. Using his extensive knowledge of Cradle to Cradle Design applied to products and materials, Jay has the unique insight required to understand a company’s global supply chain to inventory, assess and optimize products. As President of Certification Services for MBDC, a firm founded in 1995 by architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart, his passion is working with product development teams to add business value through continuous improvement.
He has worked alongside companies on product optimization, including with C&A, whom Jay worked with to create a line of Cradle to Cradle Certified™ fully compostable t-shirts. Through MBDC, which leads companies to create a world of good by assessing product designs and integrating the framework into corporate strategy, communications, operations and supply chains, he has also worked with Rambler’s Way on the first Cradle to Cradle Certified™ organic wool clothing line and contributed to the certification of wool yarn for Stella McCartney. Other collaborations include L’Oréal USA, Method, Owens-Illinois, SABIC Innovative Plastics, Shaw Industries and the United States Postal Service.
Jay has been published in Environmental Science and Technology and was named one of the top 100 most influential people in business ethics for 2007 by Ethisphere magazine. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Business minor from the University of Richmond and his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Virginia.
Wade Janzen is a savvy-egghead and sustainability buff. He has over 15 years’ experience working in conservation and non-traditional learning settings including leadership and advisory roles with Ocean Wise and the University of British Columbia.
As the Sustainable Retail Operations Specialist for MEC, Wade provides leadership and expertise to deliver MEC’s sustainability programs across the country. Wade is passionate about initiatives and organizations that minimize environmental footprint while working towards system-change for people and planet.
What gets him up in the morning? A double shot of espresso with a side of portage.
Philippe Cantin has been active on sustainability and waste management projects for the past 12 years. He thrives on challenges and atypical projects. As Senior Director, Sustainability Innovation and Circular Economy with Retail Council of Canada, he leads RCC’s advocacy work on behalf of the retail industry in areas including product/material stewardship, extended producer responsibility and chemicals management. He also engages retailers in sectorial circularity initiatives and best practices sharing on plastics and textiles. Philippe lives in Montreal.
Drummond Lawson is the director of sustainability at Arc’teryx, a Vancouver-based producer of outdoor equipment and apparel. In his four-plus years at the brand, Drummond has launched and now leads its environmental and social impact programs. An environmental chemist by background, Drummond focuses on good design as a tool for positive change – striving to create enduring brand value through more sustainable product innovation and values-based culture engagement. He previously directed sustainability efforts at Method Products in San Francisco and worked as a materials scientist at EPEA in Hamburg. In addition to being an enthusiastic and perhaps overly competitive skier, runner, cyclist and baker, Drummond is a fellow of the Aspen Institute First Movers’ social intrapreneurship fellowship and holds degrees from the University of Calgary, Universite de Savoie and Cambridge University.
Charlie leads the North American Recycling Business for Unifi and product manages Unifi's REPREVE brand of recycled fibers and polymers. REPREVE is the world's leading recycled fiber. Prior to joining Unifi, he directed sustainability efforts for Amcor's rigid plastics business, with a deep focus on North American recycling programs and use of recycled content in Amcor's plastic packaging. Charlie holds degrees in engineering, business, and environmental science from the University of Michigan and is focused on improving recycling rates, consumer recycling awareness, and reducing the environmental and social footprint of products.
Geof Kime, P.Eng is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Circular Systems SPC, a Los Angeles based business founded in 2017. Circular Systems is a clean-tech new materials company, focused on the development of innovative circular and regenerative technologies. The Company has developed waste-to-fiber platforms, Texloop, Agraloop, and Orbital Composite Yarn technology, which offer solutions for efficient management of textile/apparel and agricultural waste streams. Circular Systems’ Agraloop technology was the 1st place recipient of the 2018 H&M Foundation Global Change Award.
Geof has spent much of his career as an entrepreneur and innovator with new materials. He was the Co-Founder of Stemergy Inc., a London, Ontario company that developed processing technologies and products using agricultural biomass including hemp, flax, soy and wheat. Stemergy obtained the first permits to grow industrial hemp in Canada, helping to kick start the modern hemp industry. During his 25 years as an innovator in the bio-fiber industry Geof helped to develop hemp and flax based yarns and nonwovens targeting home furnishings, carpeting and composites applications.
Early in his career he received patents for inventions related to manufacturing equipment for plastic piping products. Geof grew up on a family farm near London Ontario and participated in all aspects of farming life, including helping to raise sheep to produce wool used in blankets.
Geof is a licensed Professional engineer in the Province of Ontario and has a degree in Applied Science (Engineering) from Queen’s University.
Scott Echols is an expert in sustainable materials and processes for the apparel and footwear industries. He has B.S and M.S. Degrees in chemistry and over 30 years of experience that has ranged from environmental chemistry to textile and footwear product chemistry. He is currently the Programme Director for the ZDHC Foundation Roadmap to Zero Programme. Previously, he was part of the Nike Materials Science Innovation group and was the Environmental Manager for C&A Europe. Scott currently serves on the steering committee for the Outdoor Industry Association Chemicals Management Working Group (OIA CMWG). He is based in Portland, Oregon, USA.
With over a decade of experience at H&M, Jessica has previously worked in the Human Resources department focusing on recruitment, training, onboarding and development. Her passion for H&M’s commitment to a more sustainable fashion future is what prompted her transition to the Press and Communications team at H&M Canada. For over two years, Jessica has been responsible for the implementation and communication of H&M’s sustainability focuses in Canada, including H&M’s garment collecting initiative. She is based in Toronto.
Pete Santora joined SoftWear Automation in 2015 during the Research and Development phase. Today he helps support customers globally in home good manufacturing and has begun the commercialization of the SEWBOT® apparel automation, starting with the Digital T-Shirt Workline. Pete brings 10 years experience in growing high tech teams and commercializing IP. He was an Entrepreneur in Residence and research faculty member at the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech, a Forbes "Top 10 Technology Incubator", where he mentored startup CEOs including SoftWear Automation. He is a former professional soccer player and serial entrepreneur.
As VP Business Development for SCT Materials, Steve Rodgers is leading the charge to develop truly bio-sustainable replacement for leather, PVC and other materials. The technology was brought in from Germany and SCT Materials was established to commercialize production. Although initially focused on automotive applications, the material has significant potential in several other industries – including apparel.
Steve is also the President of GS Global Solutions, an organization focused on assisting automotive suppliers, governments and partners to find solutions in dealing with the rapidly changing automotive industry.
A 22-year career with leading automotive parts supplier Magna International and a 7-year career with General Motors of Canada have provided Steve with a very comprehensive and wide-ranging insight into the global automotive industry.
Lilian is the Manager of Partnerships & UN Relations at the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. The initiative is an entry-point for businesses looking to work with the UN to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, with 9000+ companies participating. The UN Global Compact has played a critical role in mainstreaming corporate sustainability the past 18 years and helps companies strategically contribute to the SDGs.
In her role, Lilian builds connections and partnership opportunities between the UN and the private sector. Lilian is especially passionate about bridging the gap between policy-makers and younger communities and industries that haven’t traditionally engaged much with the UN, including the fashion and beauty sectors.
Lilian has worked on sustainability and international affairs issues in China, France, Brazil and USA, including for Social Accountability International and New York City Economic Development Corporation. She helped pioneer the sustainable fashion movement in Asia together with NGO Redress, based in Shanghai. She has an MPA from New York University and is originally from Gothenburg, Sweden.
Intrinsic Textiles Group, LLC, was formed to develop and commercialize sustainable, closed loop solutions for textiles. Their first product named CiClO™ (pronounced sēklō, translates to cycle), is a patent pending textile technology that reduces synthetic microfiber pollution caused by washing, and minimizes plastic accumulation in landfills due to discarding. By partnering with brands,they offer a biomimetic approach and sustainable solutions to easily integrate into their supply chain.
As Business Development Manager, textile and apparel expert Dennis Baacke brings 40+ years of experience in designing, developing, sourcing and manufacturing functional and sustainable fabrics, garments and accessories. Prior to Intrinsic Textiles, Dennis spent 7 years as Director of Research & Development for a The JMI group, a Li & Fung Company, and the previous ten years as Director of Sales & Marketing for JMI.
Dennis currently serves on the Technical Advisory Board of the Apparel Design & Development program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and previously served as an Ex Officio member of the Plastics Environmental Council.
Imaginovation is a custom software company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Working with enterprise companies to develop industry leading web & mobile applications, Imaginovation is also adept in emerging technologies such as blockchain - a digital ledger that allows information to be distributed but not copied. Blockchain is a shared database that is constantly getting reconciled and updated — but you can’t change the information once it has been posted. It’s hosted by millions of computers at once and doesn’t belong to one person or entity, making the system more secure. And blockchain technology can help drive supply chain traceability in the apparel industry.
As Director of Engineering at Imaginovation, Todd Moses will bring his expertise to this panel, helping us understand blockchain technology – what it is and why it matters to the fashion industry, how blockchain gives both business and consumers greater insight into the products they buy and sell, and how to use machine learning with blockchain to report on and/or prevent issues within the supply chain.
Previously, Todd worked as Lead Engineer for a hedge fund and several data driven startups. Trained as a Chemical Engineer at Auburn University before leaving to pursue a career in software, he holds the Presidents award in both Chemistry and Physics.
Ms. Jae-Hee Chang works with a global team of professionals who form the link between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and its employer constituencies in seeking to ensure that business priorities are reflected in global policy making on social and labour issues.
Jae-Hee’s main area of work includes providing technical support to employer and business membership organizations in service and policy development in areas such as skills, non-discrimination, women in business, conflict and disaster, economic integration, enterprise development, wages and on wider labour market issues, such as the future of work and technology impact on jobs. She is a joint author of ASEAN in transformation: How technology is changing jobs and enterprises, which was released in July 2016.
Jae-Hee holds a masters’ degree in management from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a bachelor’s degree in business economics from UCLA.
Sustainability demands are expanding. How are you keeping up? Customers now look beyond price when buying and negotiating. Large corporations are increasingly under immense pressure from stakeholders to be transparent about their sustainability and CSR practices, and this includes their supply chains. EcoVadis is the world’s most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings. It was founded to help procurement teams and their supply & service partners find a common ground to solve the challenge of multiple, redundant surveys that offer little feedback or guidance on improving practices. With the EcoVadis CSR Scorecard brands can measure and demonstrate their company’s CSR performance on a rich, multi-tiered scale, and share it with multiple clients with maximum credibility, confidentiality and control.
Jessica is a Customer Success Team Leader with EcoVadis. In her role, she acts as a strategic partner for companies integrating sustainability into their business practices. Jessica brings over a decade of experience in strategy, category insights, and customer development from her previous work at Fortune 500 companies in the Consumer Packaged Goods and Logistics industries.
Through her experience in CPG, Jessica became increasingly aware of a need for bridging the gap between sustainability and business operations and has since re-positioned her focus to working with companies and their sustainable procurement development. Jessica is a champion of CSR in business and is especially focused on the power of individuals to drive change within large organizations.
Jessica holds a degree in Business from Canada's Schulich School of Business.
Charline is leading the development of C&A’s circular economy strategy, which includes sustainable materials and sustainable products, globally. In that capacity, she is able to combine her passion for materials, innovation and sustainability.
Charline has over a decade of international experience in sustainability in the fashion industry. Prior to C&A, she has worked for Textile Exchange as their sustainability specialist and adidas in various roles of materials research, development and innovation.
Her education background includes a Master's of Science in textile engineering. She is native French and is currently living in Brussels, Belgium
Lauren is the CEO and Co-Founder of PolyGone – a Canadian innovative start-up that is addressing the issue of microfiber shedding. Growing up on Lake St. Clair near Windsor, Ontario, where the beaches were often closed due to E. coli and algal blooms, Lauren was aware of environmental issues, from a young age - particularly pertaining to water. She was able to combine her passion for water, the environment, and psychology through her Master’s Degree at the University of Waterloo, specializing in assessing environmental behaviour change programs, specifically regarding water. She met her business partner Nicole in grad school, who has a background in environmental engineering, and together they have been developing PolyGone Technologies in an effort to combat microfibre contamination and save everyone from eating their dirty laundry. PolyGone Filters can be customized to the apparel industry’s needs.
Linda Wegelin is a dynamic marketing professional with several years of experience in the sustainability sector, particularly in uncovering environmental hotspots along supply chains. She takes decisions with both an environmental conscious and a customer-centric approach.
As Group Market Development Manager, Linda’s aim is to build bridges between brands and retailers and to help bring more transparency into their supply chains, therefore promoting consumer confidence in their products.
Working with a number of Fortune 500 corporations she grew to understand the pain points of brands and retailers in the area of corporate responsibility. To strengthen her business acumen on an academic level Linda recently completed an Executive MBA at Warwick Business School.
Through Fashion Exchange (FX), Marilyn led the development of new education programs to address fashion sustainability, technology adoption and to provide needed manufacturing skills to ensure local industry has the talent needed to be adapt and be viable. FX also provides manufacturing services and has assisted over 50 local companies to produce samples and short run production. Applied research projects through FX Leading Innovation in Fashion Technology (LIFT) is another way local companies engage with FX and test new technologies or bring new products to market. Marilyn has a B.SC in Clothing and Textiles (University of Alberta) and MBA (Queen’s University). Marilyn was previously the Chair of Fashion and faculty member at George Brown College. Previous experiences included entrepreneur, sales management and operations management in design, retail, biotechnology and financial services sectors.
Inspired by the mission of doing well and doing good in business, entrepreneur Ira Baseman founded Community Recycling, a socially and environmentally conscious, for-profit clothing recycling company, in 2001.
With the establishment of a retail thrift operation in Philadelphia, he discovered the powerful, personal connections that happen through clothing recycling. Upon the sale of the store to Goodwill Industries, Ira launched Community Recycling with the desire to disrupt the traditional thinking of the three R’s. He has been on a simple, but ambitious mission: create personal connections through recycling.
Community Recycling engages more than 5,000 partner organizations in the U.S. and more than 50 countries in the Reuse Movement by recycling or repurposing materials, helping to grow local economies and provide jobs for people in the U.S. and around the world.
Prior to founding Community Recycling, Ira enjoyed a career as a corporate attorney in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, with a focus on contracts and commercial real estate development. He left the law to join a leading builder of luxury homes, and contributed to its national growth by opening new markets around the country. Thereafter, Ira founded a venture backed technology firm that was part of the early dot com revolution, and which was sold to a larger competitor.
Ira earned his bachelor's degree in political science and philosophy from George Washington University, and his JD from The George Washington University Law School.
Nicole Rycroft is the Founder and Executive Director of the award winning environmental not-for-profit Canopy. One of Nicole’s guiding philosophies in life, “ask for what you want, you might just get it”, is foundational to her work in protecting world’s forests, advancing international human rights, and sparking a global green economy.
Nicole has pioneered new terrain in conservation campaigns by harnessing the purchasing influence of hundreds of the forest industry’s largest customers to broker cutting-edge solutions proportional to the ecological realities of our time. Best known for greening the Harry Potter book series internationally, Nicole and her team work with over 750 companies – including H&M, The Guardian, Penguin-Random House, Sprint and Stella McCartney – to implement procurement policies and leverage their partners’ political and purchasing clout to transform unsustainable supply chains, catalyze innovative business solutions and advance large-scale forest conservation and community rights.
Originally from Australia, Nicole now lives on the west coast of Canada. A former physiotherapist and elite level athlete, she is an ardent surfer and enthusiast about life. Named one of Canada's 50 Most Influential People in Graphic Communication for four years, Nicole is an Ashoka Fellow, the recipient of a Canadian Environment Award Gold Medal, and a recipient of the Meritorious Service Cross of Canada.
Dr. Peter S. Ross is the Vice-President of Research at Ocean Wise, an initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium family. He oversees 10 research programs at Ocean Wise, with a focus on conservation science. He is an international authority in the area of ocean pollution, having published over 150 scientific articles, with a focus on the source, transport, fate and effects of priority pollutants. He launched the Ocean Pollution Research Program at Ocean Wise in 2014, with a strong focus on microplastic pollution in the world’s oceans. His team is leading a solution-oriented microfibre research partnership aimed at understanding the sources of microfibres in aquatic environments, in collaboration with MEC, Patagonia, Arc’teryx, REI and MetroVancouver.
Jeff Denby is the co-Founder of The Renewal Workshop, a company offering industry-wide solutions to optimize the value of resources invested in apparel. The Renewal Workshop partners with apparel brands to refurbish their unsellable returns and excess inventory at its own state-of-the-art factory in Oregon, creating the category of Renewed Apparel. Previously as the co-Founder of PACT, an award-winning organic apparel basics brand with retail partners such as Whole Foods and Nordstrom, Denby built a brand that differentiated itself from other apparel brands by manufacturing its garments in a transparent supply chain, improving the lives of cotton farmers and garment workers around the world. Denby's passion is to transform apparel production by pioneering new models for social impact within global supply chains. He holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and lives in Oakland, California.
Adam Taubenfligel is Creative Director of Triarchy, a low-water, sustainably-produced denim brand, whose mission is to reduce the irresponsible and unnecessary water waste created during denim production.
Adam’s work in sustainable denim has led him around the globe in search of the most responsible ways to make our most beloved piece of clothing – jeans.
He speaks on the subject of denim sustainability in an effort to educate on the dangers fast fashion has on our planet and the steps that can be taken to live a more sustainable life, by consuming less and buying better.
Vera Belazelkoska is the Director of Programs at Ulula, where she works with partners from the private, public and civil society sectors in the design and implementation of stakeholder engagement and social risk assessment systems for the protection of human rights in global supply chains. Vera has directed projects in Peru, Mexico, South Africa, China, Tanzania, and is leading Ulula's independent project on monitoring of working conditions in garment and textile production hubs in India. Vera has 10+ years of experience in international development, where she focused on poverty alleviation, financial inclusion and education in parts of Asia, Africa, Central and South America. She was a Rotary International Peace Scholar in Argentina and holds a Masters in Political Economy of International Development from the University of Toronto. She is passionate about leveraging accessible digital technologies to amplify the voices of workers and communities worldwide for the advancement of transparent, responsible and ethical business operations.
Tony Shumpert oversees the recycling and reuse business operations for Value Village (also known as Village des Valeurs and Savers), a purpose-driven thrift retailer with more than 330 stores across Canada, the United States and Australia. During his 14-year tenure at Value Village, Tony has been instrumental in establishing the company as a global leader in clothing and textile reuse and recycling.
Tony is passionate about reuse, representing Value Village through his membership on the National Zero Waste Council’s Circular Economy Working Group, as a board member of Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), an international trade association focused on promoting high standards and best practices for reducing solid waste by recycling textiles and related secondary materials, and through his Huffington Post contributions.
As Vice President, Strategy & Business Development at Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), Clay manages international operations and helps develop and refine WRAP’s strategy, specifically focusing on managing relationships with global brands/retailers and governmental and other stakeholder organizations. He has developed and led seminars and other initiatives around the world in the field of social responsibility, which have facilitated understanding of socially responsible and ethical practices.
Previously, Clay was Executive Director of TowsonGlobal Business Incubator as well as Director of Rhôton Hill Group, a management consulting firm he established. He also was Director of International Business Services for International Technology and Trade Associates, Director of International Programs for the World Trade Center Boston, and Account Director with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Taiwan). Current affiliations include the US Council for International Business, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, and the US Fashion Industry Association.
Clay received his MA in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University and received his BA in International Relations from The George Washington University. He also studied Chinese at Columbia University and is fluent in Mandarin.