Over the past few years, there has been a greater understanding of the true costs of fast fashion. In this Futures Salon, we will consider the potential implications this has on the future of fashion, think creatively about what this means for business today, and hear from experts and entrepreneurs who are already creating change.
“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness”
– Mahatma Gandhi
w/ Special Guests:
Michael Kobori, Vice President, Sustainability, Levi Strauss & Co.
Maxine Bedat, Co-founder, Zady
Debera Johnson, Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Design Studies
Summer Rayne Oaks, Model, Entrepreneur, Activist
Light refreshments will be served
What are Futures Salons?
Join Forum for the Future in a series of vibrant conversations about the future that engage with topics which have the potential to disrupt current systems. From the bacteria in our bodies to robots in the workplace, these workshops will explore how new innovations will impact people, businesses, and the world around us.
Michael Kobori has led sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. since 2001.
Under his leadership, the company has been a pioneer on social and environmental sustainability. It has publicly disclosed its manufacturing supplier locations, banned sandblasting, and launched its groundbreaking Worker Well-being initiative, which has improved the lives of 100,000 workers. Levi Strauss & Co. has pioneered the use of environmental life cycle assessment in the apparel industry, scaled its use of sustainable cotton, and led the industry on water stewardship.
During Michael’s tenure, sustainability has been integrated into the business of Levi Strauss & Co. through products such as Levi’s® Water
Based on its sustainability work, Levi Strauss & Co. was named as one of the most innovative companies in the world in 2014 by FastCompany magazine, which also named Mr. Kobori one of its 1000 Most Creative People in Business.
Mr. Kobori is a Director of the Cotton Board and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. He serves on the Global Advisory Council of the Cornerstone Capital Group, President’s Leadership Council of The Asia Foundation, and is a member of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Leaders Program. He previously served as Chair of the Better Cotton Initiative, Board member of the Levi Strauss Foundation, and member of the Advisory Boards of the ILO’s Better Work program and the Center for Responsible Business at the University of California at Berkeley
Prior to working at Levi Strauss & Co., Michael was a Vice-President at Business for Social Responsibility and spent nearly ten years at The Asia Foundation. Michael holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also received his undergraduate education in Psychology and Asian Studies.
As a pioneer in sustainable commerce, Maxine Bédat is a leading authority on sustainability in the apparel supply chain and applying a mission and storytelling to brand development. Bédat is the cofounder of Zady, one of the first online retailers to seamlessly integrate commerce, rich media content, and social media, providing its community with a truly dynamic shopping experience. Zady empowers customers to learn about the conscious consumer movement and purchase beautifully constructed goods created with craftsmanship and artisanship. Fast Company designated Zady one of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail, Entrepreneur magazine named it Start-Up of the Month, and Mashable declared it the #1 Business That Rocks Content Marketing. Previously, Bédat worked in international law and advocacy, first at the UN General Assembly and later at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Design Studies
Debera Johnson is the executive director of the Center for Sustainable Design Studies (CSDS) at Pratt Institute in NYC. Using Pratt as her platform she has has been integrating sustainability into academics, research and practice for 15 years. Debera served as chair of the Industrial Design program at Pratt from 1997-2005 and in 2002 she founded the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation. When she stepped down as chair she took the role as Academic Director of Sustainability, which evolved into the CSDS in 2009. In 2014 the Incubator was funded by NYC and NYS and has now transformed into the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. The BF+DA is a hub for ethical design, production and technology for NYC designers. The BF+DA mentors emerging design-based ventures into triple bottom line businesses, has a lab for short run knitwear and sustainable apparel production and a technology lab that supports research projects exploring innovation at the intersection of sustainability, technology and manufacturing in the fashion industry. The BF+DA produces events, exhibitions and discussions throughout the year including Pratt’s “Positive Impact Awards” which honors change makers and though leaders in the fashion industry and education.
Summer Rayne Oaks
Model, Activist, Entrepreneur
An environmental scientist and entomologist by training, Summer Rayne moved to New York City to design and work on creative solutions to some of the world's toughest environmental challenges. She co-founded Source4Style (now Le Souk), an award-winning marketplace to connect designers to sustainable material suppliers around the world and wrote best-selling book, Style, Naturally. Three years ago, she expanded her focus and has been helping people eat better and bring back the joy of movement in peoples' lives via work with companies like Good Eggs and Foodstand. In 2014, she launched sugardetox.me, to help people cleanse themselves from sugar and will be publishing a forthcoming cookbook and guide on the topic with Sterling Publishing in March 2017. She has designed environmentally-preferable lines and has been the spokesperson for brands such as Payless, Portico, Modo eyewear and Aveeno; and served as the muse for Toyota’s Prius C (they even went so far as to name a paint color in her honor). She has been featured in countless outlets for her work—including CNN, the New York Times, Well+Good, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, among others—and most recently made the news for her very, very green home (she lives with 500 plants in her Brooklyn apartment). www.summerrayne.net