INAUGURAL BIOFASHIONTECH SUMMIT SPEAKERS


Anne Hughes is a first-term State Representative serving Easton, Weston, and Redding’s 135th district. She serves as a member on the Aging, Human Services, and Insurance and Real Estate Committees in the 2019 legislative session.  Anne works as a Licensed Master Social Worker for Jewish Senior Services’ Institute on Aging and as Coordinator for the Center for Elder Abuse Prevention. She also joined Easton’s DTC in 2016 to serve on Easton’s Commission on Aging.  Anne has devoted herself to public service throughout her life as exemplified by her decision to write a letter to President Nixon at the age of seven requesting him to consider the use of boxing gloves in lieu of semi-automatic rifles for wars. She was the Program Director at CLASP Homes INc, for over a decade which provides support homes for adults with autism and developmental disabilities. Anne co-founded the Norwalk Peacemakers and began The Goddess Faire art collaborative to host annual pop-up neighborhood art and music festivals.  She graduated Cum Laude from College of New Rochelle with Bachelors in Art and Political Science and earned her Master of Social Work at University of New England in 2014. She resides in Easton with her husband Tim with whom she has pursued a lifetime of community service.

Anne Hughes is a first-term State Representative serving Easton, Weston, and Redding’s 135th district. She serves as a member on the Aging, Human Services, and Insurance and Real Estate Committees in the 2019 legislative session.

Anne works as a Licensed Master Social Worker for Jewish Senior Services’ Institute on Aging and as Coordinator for the Center for Elder Abuse Prevention. She also joined Easton’s DTC in 2016 to serve on Easton’s Commission on Aging.

Anne has devoted herself to public service throughout her life as exemplified by her decision to write a letter to President Nixon at the age of seven requesting him to consider the use of boxing gloves in lieu of semi-automatic rifles for wars. She was the Program Director at CLASP Homes INc, for over a decade which provides support homes for adults with autism and developmental disabilities. Anne co-founded the Norwalk Peacemakers and began The Goddess Faire art collaborative to host annual pop-up neighborhood art and music festivals.

She graduated Cum Laude from College of New Rochelle with Bachelors in Art and Political Science and earned her Master of Social Work at University of New England in 2014. She resides in Easton with her husband Tim with whom she has pursued a lifetime of community service.

Anne Hughes
Connecticut State Representative

Olivia Greenspan co-founded TILL with Jane Philbrick after beginning as an intern in 2013 on TILL’s predevelopment program,  re-wire.   Olivia earned her B.A. from Fordham University in May 2019 in economics and psychology,  summa cum laude .  Prior to TILL, Olivia worked with the New York City Bar Association on their “Opportunity to Raise Public Awareness about Climate Change and the Need for Action” campaign, indoor farming startup Agrivolution, the Verizon Foundation, and consulted BMW i3 through Fordham’s Social Innovation Collaboratory.  Watch Olivia’s TEDxYouth talk on TILL  here .

Olivia Greenspan co-founded TILL with Jane Philbrick after beginning as an intern in 2013 on TILL’s predevelopment program, re-wire.

Olivia earned her B.A. from Fordham University in May 2019 in economics and psychology, summa cum laude.

Prior to TILL, Olivia worked with the New York City Bar Association on their “Opportunity to Raise Public Awareness about Climate Change and the Need for Action” campaign, indoor farming startup Agrivolution, the Verizon Foundation, and consulted BMW i3 through Fordham’s Social Innovation Collaboratory.

Watch Olivia’s TEDxYouth talk on TILL here.

Olivia Greenspan
TILL: bFt Co-founder

Tessa just graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology as a Presidential Scholar, Magna Cum Laude, earning a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Business Management with minors in Ethics & Sustainability, and International Politics. In her time at FIT, Tessa served as President of the Residence Hall Association (RHA). Under Tessa's leadership, RHA won FIT’s Club of the Year Award, and Program of the Year award in their first year attending the North East Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls conference. In conjunction with this role, Tessa became the leader of the  Compost Crew , a student-lead initiative of four students focused on bringing composting to the residence halls on campus. Tessa and her team attended Clinton Global Initiative University for this project. In partnership with the New York Department of Sanitation, FIT’s Residential Life, and RHA, Tessa and her team were able to roll out their pilot program, which would later jumpstart a new sustainability-focused leadership role in the club.  For her work on campus, Tessa was awarded the Marion Brandriss Extracurricular Service Award, recognizing outstanding service to the institution in the area of extracurricular activities. In Spring of 2019, Tessa had the honor of speaking on a “Spotlight on Students in Sustainability Leadership” panel at FIT’s Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference. She has also presented her work in promoting sustainability on campus to FIT’s Board of Trustees alongside her fellow student leaders, and has been featured in FIT’s Innovation in Sustainability  video.   Tessa serves as Special Projects Manager of TILL, coordinating the bioFASHIONtech Summit and overseeing the bioFASHIONtech LAB @ Stamford Town Center. Passionate about community, wearable art, and addressing the climate crisis, Tessa is immensely proud to be part of a team that pulls these elements together and is working towards real and lasting progress.

Tessa just graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology as a Presidential Scholar, Magna Cum Laude, earning a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Business Management with minors in Ethics & Sustainability, and International Politics. In her time at FIT, Tessa served as President of the Residence Hall Association (RHA). Under Tessa's leadership, RHA won FIT’s Club of the Year Award, and Program of the Year award in their first year attending the North East Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls conference. In conjunction with this role, Tessa became the leader of the Compost Crew, a student-lead initiative of four students focused on bringing composting to the residence halls on campus. Tessa and her team attended Clinton Global Initiative University for this project. In partnership with the New York Department of Sanitation, FIT’s Residential Life, and RHA, Tessa and her team were able to roll out their pilot program, which would later jumpstart a new sustainability-focused leadership role in the club.

For her work on campus, Tessa was awarded the Marion Brandriss Extracurricular Service Award, recognizing outstanding service to the institution in the area of extracurricular activities. In Spring of 2019, Tessa had the honor of speaking on a “Spotlight on Students in Sustainability Leadership” panel at FIT’s Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference. She has also presented her work in promoting sustainability on campus to FIT’s Board of Trustees alongside her fellow student leaders, and has been featured inFIT’s Innovation in Sustainability video.

Tessa serves as Special Projects Manager of TILL, coordinating the bioFASHIONtech Summit and overseeing the bioFASHIONtech LAB @ Stamford Town Center. Passionate about community, wearable art, and addressing the climate crisis, Tessa is immensely proud to be part of a team that pulls these elements together and is working towards real and lasting progress.

Tessa Beltrano
TILL: bFt Manager

David R. Montgomery   is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. David is the author of several popular books including  Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations , and most recently,  Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life .  His work has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. When not writing or doing geology, David plays guitar in the band Big Dirt.

David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. David is the author of several popular books including Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, and most recently, Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.

His work has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. When not writing or doing geology, David plays guitar in the band Big Dirt.

David R. Montgomery, PhD
Geomorphologist, Author

Anne Biklé is a biologist, science communicator, and public speaker. She writes about connections between people, plants, food, health, and the environment. She finds the botanical world particularly enthralling. A bad case of plant lust draws her to the garden where she coaxes garden plants into rambunctious growth or nurses them back from the edge of death.  Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and radio and her soil-building practices have been featured in independent and documentary films.She co-authored  The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health  with her husband and geologist, David Montgomery.

Anne Biklé is a biologist, science communicator, and public speaker. She writes about connections between people, plants, food, health, and the environment. She finds the botanical world particularly enthralling. A bad case of plant lust draws her to the garden where she coaxes garden plants into rambunctious growth or nurses them back from the edge of death.

Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and radio and her soil-building practices have been featured in independent and documentary films.She co-authored The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health with her husband and geologist, David Montgomery.

Anne Biklé
Biologist, Author

Rosemary Feitelberg is a New York-based reporter for Women’s Wear Daily, who covers sustainability and a wide range of other subjects.

Rosemary Feitelberg is a New York-based reporter for Women’s Wear Daily, who covers sustainability and a wide range of other subjects.

Rosemary Feitelberg
New York Correspondent, Women’s Wear Daily

Tessa Callaghan is the co-founder and Director of Innovations at AlgiKnit, a biomaterials company working to provide fashion brands with algae-based textiles. AlgiKnit’s yarn development is driven by sustainable needs, cost competitiveness and establishing a circular economy. With a background in design and textiles, Tessa is passionate about exploring collaboration as a means for change. With a focus on and love for ocean, Tessa works across the supply chain to connect and align partners, brands and manufacturers in achieving their sustainability goals to help transform the fashion ecosystem.

Tessa Callaghan is the co-founder and Director of Innovations at AlgiKnit, a biomaterials company working to provide fashion brands with algae-based textiles. AlgiKnit’s yarn development is driven by sustainable needs, cost competitiveness and establishing a circular economy. With a background in design and textiles, Tessa is passionate about exploring collaboration as a means for change. With a focus on and love for ocean, Tessa works across the supply chain to connect and align partners, brands and manufacturers in achieving their sustainability goals to help transform the fashion ecosystem.

Tessa Callaghan
Co-founder and Director of Innovations, AlgiKnit

A leading expert in natural silk biomaterials, Greg heads strategy and innovation at Silk Medical Aesthetics and concurrently serves as the CEO of Evolved By Nature. His extensive research into silk’s biocompatibility with the human body led to the creation of his first company, Serica Technologies, where he and Rebecca Lacouture, SMA’s co-founder, president and COO, developed the first FDA-approved silk-based medical device for soft tissue reconstruction. This breakthrough technology was acquired by Allergan, where Greg served as Vice President of Research and Development and General Manager. He is the inventor of several patents on clean silk technology and holds a PhD in Biotechnology Engineering and BS in Chemistry from Tufts University.

A leading expert in natural silk biomaterials, Greg heads strategy and innovation at Silk Medical Aesthetics and concurrently serves as the CEO of Evolved By Nature. His extensive research into silk’s biocompatibility with the human body led to the creation of his first company, Serica Technologies, where he and Rebecca Lacouture, SMA’s co-founder, president and COO, developed the first FDA-approved silk-based medical device for soft tissue reconstruction. This breakthrough technology was acquired by Allergan, where Greg served as Vice President of Research and Development and General Manager. He is the inventor of several patents on clean silk technology and holds a PhD in Biotechnology Engineering and BS in Chemistry from Tufts University.

Gregory Altman, PhD
Co-founder and CEO, Evolved By Nature

David Sun Kong is a Synthetic Biologist, community organizer, musician, and photographer based in Lexington, MA. He is the Director of the MIT Media Lab's new Community Biotechnology Initiative. Our mission: empowering communities through biotechnology.  David is a pioneer in developing "lab-on-a-chip" technologies for synthetic biology and a leader in the global community biology movement. He conducted his graduate studies at MIT’s Media Lab, receiving a Master's degree for developing technology for printing nanostructures with energetic beams and a Ph.D. for demonstrating the first gene synthesis in a microfluidic (“lab-on-a-chip”) system. He was recognized as an emerging leader in synthetic biology as a "LEAP" fellow, served as a guest faculty member at the Marine Biology Lab in Woods Hole, MA, and is co-founder and managing faculty of "How To Grow (Almost) Anything, an international course on synthetic biology. He founded and chaired new Microfluidic and Hardware Tracks for the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM) and is the official iGEM DJ. He was Technical Staff in the Bioengineering Systems & Technologies group at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory and a founding member of the synthetic biology team. He is also the founder of Metafluidics, an open repository for fluidic systems.  He has also worked as a community organizer for more than a decade and is the founder and director of EMW, an art, technology, and community space in Cambridge, MA. EMW's mission is to empower communities through the transformative power of artistic expression. We emphasize serving marginalized communities and develop all of our programming with values rooted in social justice. Our community programs explore expressive forms ranging from poetry to electronic music, beatboxing to bio-hacking and more.  David has performed as a DJ, beat-boxer, vocalist, and rapper at hundreds of venues, including South by Southwest, the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Brooklyn Bowl, where he opened for Tonight Show band-leader and hip hop legend Questlove. He is also an award-winning vocal arranger and producer. His photography has been exhibited at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian, the Japanese American National Museum, and other museums and galleries across the country.

David Sun Kong is a Synthetic Biologist, community organizer, musician, and photographer based in Lexington, MA. He is the Director of the MIT Media Lab's new Community Biotechnology Initiative. Our mission: empowering communities through biotechnology.

David is a pioneer in developing "lab-on-a-chip" technologies for synthetic biology and a leader in the global community biology movement. He conducted his graduate studies at MIT’s Media Lab, receiving a Master's degree for developing technology for printing nanostructures with energetic beams and a Ph.D. for demonstrating the first gene synthesis in a microfluidic (“lab-on-a-chip”) system. He was recognized as an emerging leader in synthetic biology as a "LEAP" fellow, served as a guest faculty member at the Marine Biology Lab in Woods Hole, MA, and is co-founder and managing faculty of "How To Grow (Almost) Anything, an international course on synthetic biology. He founded and chaired new Microfluidic and Hardware Tracks for the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM) and is the official iGEM DJ. He was Technical Staff in the Bioengineering Systems & Technologies group at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory and a founding member of the synthetic biology team. He is also the founder of Metafluidics, an open repository for fluidic systems.

He has also worked as a community organizer for more than a decade and is the founder and director of EMW, an art, technology, and community space in Cambridge, MA. EMW's mission is to empower communities through the transformative power of artistic expression. We emphasize serving marginalized communities and develop all of our programming with values rooted in social justice. Our community programs explore expressive forms ranging from poetry to electronic music, beatboxing to bio-hacking and more.

David has performed as a DJ, beat-boxer, vocalist, and rapper at hundreds of venues, including South by Southwest, the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Brooklyn Bowl, where he opened for Tonight Show band-leader and hip hop legend Questlove. He is also an award-winning vocal arranger and producer. His photography has been exhibited at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian, the Japanese American National Museum, and other museums and galleries across the country.

David S. Kong, PhD
Director, MIT Media Lab Community Biotechnology Initiative

Megan Meiklejohn is the Manager of Sustainable Materials & Transparency at EILEEN FISHER, Inc., a New York based women's clothing brand. As a B Corp, sustainability is deeply woven into the company's business practices and design philosophy.  With a degree from Pennsylvania State University in Environmental Resource Management, Megan began her career as a sustainability consultant to a diverse number of clients and projects; identifying energy, waste, and water saving opportunities, verifying product claims, and facilitating certification to various sustainability standards.  Megan joined EILEEN FISHER in 2014 with a focus on Supply Chain Transparency. Understanding that transparency is foundational to sourcing sustainable fibers and materials, Megan focuses on identifying and engaging with raw material suppliers who are creating a beneficial impact on the environment through organic, holistic, and regenerative practices. In the past few years, EILEEN FISHER has been able to nominate specific farmers and fiber networks, creating completely traceable supply chains for select organic cotton and regenerative wool qualities.  Megan is an advocate for using sustainably produced natural fibers to drawdown carbon and fight climate change.

Megan Meiklejohn is the Manager of Sustainable Materials & Transparency at EILEEN FISHER, Inc., a New York based women's clothing brand. As a B Corp, sustainability is deeply woven into the company's business practices and design philosophy.

With a degree from Pennsylvania State University in Environmental Resource Management, Megan began her career as a sustainability consultant to a diverse number of clients and projects; identifying energy, waste, and water saving opportunities, verifying product claims, and facilitating certification to various sustainability standards.

Megan joined EILEEN FISHER in 2014 with a focus on Supply Chain Transparency. Understanding that transparency is foundational to sourcing sustainable fibers and materials, Megan focuses on identifying and engaging with raw material suppliers who are creating a beneficial impact on the environment through organic, holistic, and regenerative practices. In the past few years, EILEEN FISHER has been able to nominate specific farmers and fiber networks, creating completely traceable supply chains for select organic cotton and regenerative wool qualities.

Megan is an advocate for using sustainably produced natural fibers to drawdown carbon and fight climate change.

Megan Meiklejohn
Sustainable Materials & Transparency Manager, Eileen Fisher

Douglas McMaster is the chef and founder of Silo, the first zero-waste restaurant, based in east London. Doug is also the executive Chef of CUB in Hoxton.  Doug began his career at a restaurant called Winteringham Fields, then a 2 Michelin star restaurant in the north of England. From there, he moved to London to work at St. John, which became the true foundation of his career. This was followed by a food pilgrimage, doing work experience in the world’s best restaurants, such as the Fat Duck and Noma. After working his way through Australia’s best restaurants, he created a pop-up restaurant concept called ‘Wasted’, serving food that would have otherwise been wasted in the context of fine dining.  In 2009, Douglas won the ‘BBC Young Chef of the Year Award’ and in 2012 won ‘Britains most innovative chef’ at the first Young British Foodie awards, aka the YBF’s.  Doug opened Silo in 2014 at the age of 26, creating the worlds first Zero Waste restaurant. The idea is simple; To trade directly with ‘where food comes from’ avoiding unnecessary packaging and then turning all that is not eaten into compost. This compost then goes back to the farms and closes the loop. Two years after opening, Silo won the prestigious Observer Food Monthly award for ‘Britains Most Ethical Restaurant’.  In early 2018, Doug gave a TEDTalk titled ‘Waste is a failure of the imagination’, and June of the same year, Silo won ‘Britains most Innovative Restaurant’ award at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards.  Most recently Silo and CUB have been included in the World Restaurant awards for innovation and ethical practice.

Douglas McMaster is the chef and founder of Silo, the first zero-waste restaurant, based in east London. Doug is also the executive Chef of CUB in Hoxton.

Doug began his career at a restaurant called Winteringham Fields, then a 2 Michelin star restaurant in the north of England. From there, he moved to London to work at St. John, which became the true foundation of his career. This was followed by a food pilgrimage, doing work experience in the world’s best restaurants, such as the Fat Duck and Noma. After working his way through Australia’s best restaurants, he created a pop-up restaurant concept called ‘Wasted’, serving food that would have otherwise been wasted in the context of fine dining.

In 2009, Douglas won the ‘BBC Young Chef of the Year Award’ and in 2012 won ‘Britains most innovative chef’ at the first Young British Foodie awards, aka the YBF’s.

Doug opened Silo in 2014 at the age of 26, creating the worlds first Zero Waste restaurant. The idea is simple; To trade directly with ‘where food comes from’ avoiding unnecessary packaging and then turning all that is not eaten into compost. This compost then goes back to the farms and closes the loop. Two years after opening, Silo won the prestigious Observer Food Monthly award for ‘Britains Most Ethical Restaurant’.

In early 2018, Doug gave a TEDTalk titled ‘Waste is a failure of the imagination’, and June of the same year, Silo won ‘Britains most Innovative Restaurant’ award at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards.

Most recently Silo and CUB have been included in the World Restaurant awards for innovation and ethical practice.

Douglas McMaster
Chef & Founder of Silo, Executive Chef, CUB

Michael J. Flanagan, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Genspace, the community biology laboratory of New York City. In addition to being a Genspace member since 2015, Mike has also served as an instructor and as a Board member. His synthetic biology research interests include biomaterials, DNA assembly techniques, and optogenetic control systems. The recipient of almost thirty patents, Mike spent more than two decades working at large institutions and smaller startups as an engineer and entrepreneur.  While at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he worked on Deep Space Network projects including the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Mike’s research at Bell Labs focused on signal processing and the optimization of advanced wireless communications systems. He was the Chief Technology Officer at Arieso and Founder/Chief Executive Officer of FlanaGen LLC.  Mike received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering from Caltech, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow.

Michael J. Flanagan, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Genspace, the community biology laboratory of New York City. In addition to being a Genspace member since 2015, Mike has also served as an instructor and as a Board member. His synthetic biology research interests include biomaterials, DNA assembly techniques, and optogenetic control systems. The recipient of almost thirty patents, Mike spent more than two decades working at large institutions and smaller startups as an engineer and entrepreneur.

While at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he worked on Deep Space Network projects including the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Mike’s research at Bell Labs focused on signal processing and the optimization of advanced wireless communications systems. He was the Chief Technology Officer at Arieso and Founder/Chief Executive Officer of FlanaGen LLC.

Mike received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering from Caltech, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow.

Michael Flanagan, PhD
Executive Director, Genspace

Lydia Dishman is a business journalist who writes about the intersection of tech, leadership, commerce, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others. She is coauthor of the book Survive to Thrive. Over the course of her career, she’s interviewed a variety of well-known executives including Diane Von Furstenberg, Gregg Steinhafel, former CEO of Target, Mickey Drexler, former CEO of J.Crew, Christopher Bailey of Burberry, Mary Barra of General Motors, Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, and other luminaries such as Adrian Grenier, Romany Malco, and Tom Brokaw.

Lydia Dishman is a business journalist who writes about the intersection of tech, leadership, commerce, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others. She is coauthor of the book Survive to Thrive. Over the course of her career, she’s interviewed a variety of well-known executives including Diane Von Furstenberg, Gregg Steinhafel, former CEO of Target, Mickey Drexler, former CEO of J.Crew, Christopher Bailey of Burberry, Mary Barra of General Motors, Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, and other luminaries such as Adrian Grenier, Romany Malco, and Tom Brokaw.

Lydia Dishman
Reporter, Fast Company

Ayesha (@abarenblat) is a social entrepreneur with a passion for building sustainable supply chains that respect people and our planet. With over a decade of leadership to promote social justice and sustainability within the fashion industry, she founded Remake to ignite a conscious consumer movement. Remake’s films, stories and immersive journeys rebuild human connections with the women who make our clothes. Ayesha is passionate about where things come from, who made them and what their lives are like. She has worked with brands, governments, and labor advocates to improve the lives of the women who make our clothes.  She led brand engagement at Better Work, a World Bank and United Nations partnership to ensure safe and decent working conditions within garment factories around the world. She was head of consumer products at BSR, providing strategic advice to brands including H&M, Levi Strauss & Co., Marks and Spencer, Nike, The Walt Disney Company and Pou Chen on the design and integration of sustainability into business. She holds a master’s in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.  “Today there is a long unhappy story of how our fashion is made and where it ends up. I want us to reimagine this story. I founded Remake because I truly believe in the good that comes from human connections. The modern shopper wants to know more, and the maker is better off when we use our voice and wallet to advocate for her wellbeing.”

Ayesha (@abarenblat) is a social entrepreneur with a passion for building sustainable supply chains that respect people and our planet. With over a decade of leadership to promote social justice and sustainability within the fashion industry, she founded Remake to ignite a conscious consumer movement. Remake’s films, stories and immersive journeys rebuild human connections with the women who make our clothes. Ayesha is passionate about where things come from, who made them and what their lives are like. She has worked with brands, governments, and labor advocates to improve the lives of the women who make our clothes.

She led brand engagement at Better Work, a World Bank and United Nations partnership to ensure safe and decent working conditions within garment factories around the world. She was head of consumer products at BSR, providing strategic advice to brands including H&M, Levi Strauss & Co., Marks and Spencer, Nike, The Walt Disney Company and Pou Chen on the design and integration of sustainability into business. She holds a master’s in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

“Today there is a long unhappy story of how our fashion is made and where it ends up. I want us to reimagine this story. I founded Remake because I truly believe in the good that comes from human connections. The modern shopper wants to know more, and the maker is better off when we use our voice and wallet to advocate for her wellbeing.”

Ayesha Barenblat
Social Entrepreneur & Founder, Remake

Ngozi Okaro, Executive Director of Custom Collaborative, is an advocate for socioeconomic justice who builds bridges between and among individuals and organizations to create opportunity and access. During her more than 15 years in social-sector leadership, she has led education, social justice, and community-based organizations to articulate and fulfill their missions.  Ngozi has special expertise in mapping and managing change for growth-stage enterprises. She is also expert at securing major gifts, strategic planning and operations, leadership and board development, and governance.  Known for her incisive reasoning, executable strategies, and transformational management successes, Ngozi’s background includes leading fundraising at National Urban League and its affiliates, Brooklyn Hospital Center, INSEAD, and Yale University, as well as leading programs and operations at Nigeria Higher Education Foundation and Phipps Neighborhoods. She is a natural team-builder who advances organizations through revenue generation and cost containment, human capital development, and stakeholder engagement.  A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Morgan State University, Ngozi is licensed to practice law in Louisiana and New York. Among other distinctions, she is certified by New York University’s Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising, was a 2014 Environmental Leadership Program Fellow, and is an alumna of the Coro Leadership New York program.  Ngozi initially viewed Custom Collaborative as a way to serve two constituencies: fashion-industry workers, who deserve fair compensation, and thoughtful consumers who want well-made clothes but whose bodies—like the bodies of the majority of American women—do not conform to ready-to-wear’s standard sizing. Custom Collaborative has also evolved to work alongside designers who need sample-making and small-batch production services, thereby meeting a clear market need.

Ngozi Okaro, Executive Director of Custom Collaborative, is an advocate for socioeconomic justice who builds bridges between and among individuals and organizations to create opportunity and access. During her more than 15 years in social-sector leadership, she has led education, social justice, and community-based organizations to articulate and fulfill their missions.

Ngozi has special expertise in mapping and managing change for growth-stage enterprises. She is also expert at securing major gifts, strategic planning and operations, leadership and board development, and governance.

Known for her incisive reasoning, executable strategies, and transformational management successes, Ngozi’s background includes leading fundraising at National Urban League and its affiliates, Brooklyn Hospital Center, INSEAD, and Yale University, as well as leading programs and operations at Nigeria Higher Education Foundation and Phipps Neighborhoods. She is a natural team-builder who advances organizations through revenue generation and cost containment, human capital development, and stakeholder engagement.

A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Morgan State University, Ngozi is licensed to practice law in Louisiana and New York. Among other distinctions, she is certified by New York University’s Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising, was a 2014 Environmental Leadership Program Fellow, and is an alumna of the Coro Leadership New York program.

Ngozi initially viewed Custom Collaborative as a way to serve two constituencies: fashion-industry workers, who deserve fair compensation, and thoughtful consumers who want well-made clothes but whose bodies—like the bodies of the majority of American women—do not conform to ready-to-wear’s standard sizing. Custom Collaborative has also evolved to work alongside designers who need sample-making and small-batch production services, thereby meeting a clear market need.

Ngozi Okaro
Executive Director, Custom Collaborative

José P. Chan is a senior retail executive, entrepreneur and PT Assistant Professor at Parsons School of Design. He has worked in the retail and apparel sector over 20+ years with LVMH, Richemont and Roberto Cavalli. He is a Founding Team Member and Advisory Board Member of Celect, an award winning, retail technology firm that leverages machine learning in order to predict future outcomes. The firm was founded at the Massachusetts of Technology and works with large, well-known brands/retailers. It recently raised a series C round and is funded out of Silicon Valley and New York. José has held senior management positions reporting to CEOs and has extensive international management experience in buying, marketing, merchandising, planning, predictive analytics and has run retail store networks with P&L responsibility. He is an MIT Sloan Fellow.  José has been invited to lecture on Retailing at various industry conferences and numerous universities including: Columbia University (CBS), Cornell University (Cornell Tech/FSAD), Fashion Institute of Technology (GFM), Harvard University (HBS), Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan), New York University (Stern), The University of Chicago (Booth), The University of Navarra (IESE), Parsons School of Design, The University of Rochester (Simon), XRC Labs and Fashion Group International (FGI). In addition, he is the co-host of the Brick & Data Podcast, a mentor at XRC Labs, New York Fashion Tech Lab and the National Retail Federation Student Association Faculty Advisor for the New School. A native New Yorker, Chan is fluent in Spanish, Italian, French and has working knowledge of German. He is an avid swimmer and plays classical guitar.

José P. Chan is a senior retail executive, entrepreneur and PT Assistant Professor at Parsons School of Design. He has worked in the retail and apparel sector over 20+ years with LVMH, Richemont and Roberto Cavalli. He is a Founding Team Member and Advisory Board Member of Celect, an award winning, retail technology firm that leverages machine learning in order to predict future outcomes. The firm was founded at the Massachusetts of Technology and works with large, well-known brands/retailers. It recently raised a series C round and is funded out of Silicon Valley and New York. José has held senior management positions reporting to CEOs and has extensive international management experience in buying, marketing, merchandising, planning, predictive analytics and has run retail store networks with P&L responsibility. He is an MIT Sloan Fellow.

José has been invited to lecture on Retailing at various industry conferences and numerous universities including: Columbia University (CBS), Cornell University (Cornell Tech/FSAD), Fashion Institute of Technology (GFM), Harvard University (HBS), Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan), New York University (Stern), The University of Chicago (Booth), The University of Navarra (IESE), Parsons School of Design, The University of Rochester (Simon), XRC Labs and Fashion Group International (FGI). In addition, he is the co-host of the Brick & Data Podcast, a mentor at XRC Labs, New York Fashion Tech Lab and the National Retail Federation Student Association Faculty Advisor for the New School. A native New Yorker, Chan is fluent in Spanish, Italian, French and has working knowledge of German. He is an avid swimmer and plays classical guitar.

José P. Chan
Founding team member & Advisory Board member, Celect

Peter Frase is a writer in New York, and has published widely on the intersection of technology, work, and politics. His recent writing has appeared in publications such as Jacobin, Commune, and In These Times magazines. His book *Four Futures* (Verso, 2016) uses the tools of social science and speculative fiction to imagine worlds beyond capitalism in a world of automation, climate crisis, and widening inequality.

Peter Frase is a writer in New York, and has published widely on the intersection of technology, work, and politics. His recent writing has appeared in publications such as Jacobin, Commune, and In These Times magazines. His book *Four Futures* (Verso, 2016) uses the tools of social science and speculative fiction to imagine worlds beyond capitalism in a world of automation, climate crisis, and widening inequality.

Peter Frase
Author, Four Futures: Life After Capitalism

Jane Philbrick is an artist, educator, and writer. Her large-scale installations and sculpture range in media from ultrasound and rammed earth to magnetic levitation and found space. She works in collaboration across disciplines in science and engineering, architecture, music, finance, fashion, and performance.  Her primary practice is disruptive community-based real estate development, applying holistic and synthetic methodologies of artist practice to brownfield regeneration. The goal is equitable, ecological, compassionate society, from the ground up.  Jane is a past artist fellow, Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and MacDowell Colony fellow. She teaches in the Art, Media, and Technology Program, Parsons School of Design/The New School, NYC. Prior to re-wire/TILL, she was Visiting Professor and Director of the international C:Art MFA, Valand School of Fine Art, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Jane holds a bachelors degree in East Asian Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University, and a masters in Critical Conservation from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

Jane Philbrick is an artist, educator, and writer. Her large-scale installations and sculpture range in media from ultrasound and rammed earth to magnetic levitation and found space. She works in collaboration across disciplines in science and engineering, architecture, music, finance, fashion, and performance.

Her primary practice is disruptive community-based real estate development, applying holistic and synthetic methodologies of artist practice to brownfield regeneration. The goal is equitable, ecological, compassionate society, from the ground up.

Jane is a past artist fellow, Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and MacDowell Colony fellow. She teaches in the Art, Media, and Technology Program, Parsons School of Design/The New School, NYC. Prior to re-wire/TILL, she was Visiting Professor and Director of the international C:Art MFA, Valand School of Fine Art, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Jane holds a bachelors degree in East Asian Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University, and a masters in Critical Conservation from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

Jane Philbrick
TILL: bFt Founder

Jacob Olmedo (b. Sheboygan, Wisconsin, lives and works in New York, NY) holds a BFA in Fashion Design from the School of Fashion at Parsons. He is a designer and artist who focuses on sustainability and the future of fashion through textiles and garments. He was awarded the Designer of the Year, Future Textiles Award in 2017 from Parson School of Fashion, the Role Models Competition from the Healthy Materials Lab, and was a finalist for the International Dorothy Waxman Talking Textile Award for his work integrating fashion and plant life. Jacob practices in-depth research, experimental material development, user testing, and garment construction, all as a part of his continuing design work And The World Will Be As One. And The World Will Be As One showcases an array of important relationships we as humans have with our clothing and our natural world.

Jacob Olmedo (b. Sheboygan, Wisconsin, lives and works in New York, NY) holds a BFA in Fashion Design from the School of Fashion at Parsons. He is a designer and artist who focuses on sustainability and the future of fashion through textiles and garments. He was awarded the Designer of the Year, Future Textiles Award in 2017 from Parson School of Fashion, the Role Models Competition from the Healthy Materials Lab, and was a finalist for the International Dorothy Waxman Talking Textile Award for his work integrating fashion and plant life. Jacob practices in-depth research, experimental material development, user testing, and garment construction, all as a part of his continuing design work And The World Will Be As One. And The World Will Be As One showcases an array of important relationships we as humans have with our clothing and our natural world.

Jacob Olmedo
Ecological Fashion Designer, Parsons School of Design Council of Fashion Designers of America, Liz Claiborne Fellow

Gal Yakobovitch is an Israeli fashion bio-maker working in NYC. Bridging the gap between new biomaterials and old manufacturing methods, doing so by creating  Makemoretcollective.com  which offers an open source knowledge exchange platform that encourages collaborations between biomaterial designers and traditional practitioners.

Gal Yakobovitch is an Israeli fashion bio-maker working in NYC. Bridging the gap between new biomaterials and old manufacturing methods, doing so by creating Makemoretcollective.com which offers an open source knowledge exchange platform that encourages collaborations between biomaterial designers and traditional practitioners.

Gal Yakobovitch
Fashion Biomaker, Parsons School of Design

While a Fashion Design student at Parsons School of Design, Yimin was selected for Remake’s Made In Sri Lanka journey inside garment maker communities to learn about the true human stories behind mass-produced fashion. Remake is a sustainable fashion non profit organization that is igniting a conscious consumer movement. During his awakening experience with garment makers inside their factories and boarding home, he realized the complexity of our fashion system and came away hoping to transform fashion into a force for good. As an aesthetic and systematic experimenter of fashion, Yimin is developing his label, yiminism, to celebrate the prestige of Chinese traditional craft with an ethical and sustainable business model. Yimin earned his BFA from Parsons in 2018 and soon after became a Remake Ambassador. Through his dedication to sustainable fashion advocacy for Remake, he was connected to TILL. His goal to continually grow the sustainable fashion movement from a new vantage point immediately clicked with TILL’s co-founder, Jane Philbrick’s mission of healing brownfields ecologically, socially and economically.  Yimin is the lead designer of TILL: bioFASHIONtech LAB’s Community Studio. Through teaching free public workshops on basic fashion making skills and working with individual clients to develop upcycled fashion collaboratively, he encourages bFt LAB guests to participate in fashion not only as consumers, but as sustainable makers. Through the platform provided by TILL, Yimin is able to research and develop an alternative model to our current fashion unsustainable system while importantly, engaging the Stamford public in this process. His residency at TILL complements his experience at Remake for his quest to be a fashion designer of sustainability: joining community engagement and alternative system development with critical reflection and grassroots activism.

While a Fashion Design student at Parsons School of Design, Yimin was selected for Remake’s Made In Sri Lanka journey inside garment maker communities to learn about the true human stories behind mass-produced fashion. Remake is a sustainable fashion non profit organization that is igniting a conscious consumer movement. During his awakening experience with garment makers inside their factories and boarding home, he realized the complexity of our fashion system and came away hoping to transform fashion into a force for good. As an aesthetic and systematic experimenter of fashion, Yimin is developing his label, yiminism, to celebrate the prestige of Chinese traditional craft with an ethical and sustainable business model. Yimin earned his BFA from Parsons in 2018 and soon after became a Remake Ambassador. Through his dedication to sustainable fashion advocacy for Remake, he was connected to TILL. His goal to continually grow the sustainable fashion movement from a new vantage point immediately clicked with TILL’s co-founder, Jane Philbrick’s mission of healing brownfields ecologically, socially and economically.

Yimin is the lead designer of TILL: bioFASHIONtech LAB’s Community Studio. Through teaching free public workshops on basic fashion making skills and working with individual clients to develop upcycled fashion collaboratively, he encourages bFt LAB guests to participate in fashion not only as consumers, but as sustainable makers. Through the platform provided by TILL, Yimin is able to research and develop an alternative model to our current fashion unsustainable system while importantly, engaging the Stamford public in this process. His residency at TILL complements his experience at Remake for his quest to be a fashion designer of sustainability: joining community engagement and alternative system development with critical reflection and grassroots activism.

Yimin Deng
Ecological Fashion Designer, Parsons School of Design

Vân Anh (they/them) is a Việt-American digital artist and garment maker. Their work explores avenues for identity construction and world building with the use of traditional garment production techniques and 3D CAD tools. By constructing new realities and avatars to inhabit them, Vân Anh hopes to complicate notions of otherness and belonging (especially in regards to the queer, Việt identity). They recently graduated from Parsons the New School for Design and are currently based in New York City.

Vân Anh (they/them) is a Việt-American digital artist and garment maker. Their work explores avenues for identity construction and world building with the use of traditional garment production techniques and 3D CAD tools. By constructing new realities and avatars to inhabit them, Vân Anh hopes to complicate notions of otherness and belonging (especially in regards to the queer, Việt identity). They recently graduated from Parsons the New School for Design and are currently based in New York City.

Vân Anh Lê
Community Studio Designer

Huashung Hu is a women’s wear designer. Hu graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in fashion designer in 2018. At the age of eight she left her home in China, and moved to Busan, South Korea; after living in Korea for nine years she moved to New York City to pursue her study in fashion. Growing up as an international student with a diverse background, Hu aims to create organic yet urban silhouettes that are both delicately feminine and youthful, with in depth cultural elements for her customers. Her designs alludes a mix of eastern and western aesthetic, which reflects her upbringing. During her years of study at Parsons and her previous internship experience, Hu has became increasingly aware of the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry. For her thesis collection, she created a capsule collection using all natural fabrics and a series plant-based natural dyes to create a series of diverse color and patterns for her fabric development.  As the assistant designer of TILL: bioFASHIONtech LAB’s community studio, she continued her exploration of sustainable fashion. Hu was able to work with individual clients to create up-cycled designs, and through her engagement with the Stamford public she was able to enlighten them to diverse methods of sustainable making. Through her experience at TILL, Huashuang will continue her exploration of sustainable design and making throughout her personal designs and career in the future.

Huashung Hu is a women’s wear designer. Hu graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in fashion designer in 2018. At the age of eight she left her home in China, and moved to Busan, South Korea; after living in Korea for nine years she moved to New York City to pursue her study in fashion. Growing up as an international student with a diverse background, Hu aims to create organic yet urban silhouettes that are both delicately feminine and youthful, with in depth cultural elements for her customers. Her designs alludes a mix of eastern and western aesthetic, which reflects her upbringing. During her years of study at Parsons and her previous internship experience, Hu has became increasingly aware of the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry. For her thesis collection, she created a capsule collection using all natural fabrics and a series plant-based natural dyes to create a series of diverse color and patterns for her fabric development.

As the assistant designer of TILL: bioFASHIONtech LAB’s community studio, she continued her exploration of sustainable fashion. Hu was able to work with individual clients to create up-cycled designs, and through her engagement with the Stamford public she was able to enlighten them to diverse methods of sustainable making. Through her experience at TILL, Huashuang will continue her exploration of sustainable design and making throughout her personal designs and career in the future.

Huashung Hu
Community Studio Designer

Daniel is Associate Professor of Psychology and Assistant Chairperson of the Social Sciences Department at FIT. He created the Psychology for Sustainability course which asks students to consider psychology as central to understanding and solving environmental problems. Daniel's research concerns the complex relationship between values, intentions, and behavior and he's particularly interested in how individuals can hold pro-environmental values yet exhibit environmentally destructive behaviors. He is also interested in the relationship between gender and environmentally-relevant behavior, particularly the ways in which strong adherence to stereotypic gender norms can undermine pro-environmental attitudes and behavior for both women and men. Daniel serves on the Executive Board of the Society for Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association. He has presented his work in a variety of settings including regional, national, and international conferences and he has received media coverage in the Washington Post, Fashionista, Fashion Canada, and Vanity Fair.

Daniel is Associate Professor of Psychology and Assistant Chairperson of the Social Sciences Department at FIT. He created the Psychology for Sustainability course which asks students to consider psychology as central to understanding and solving environmental problems. Daniel's research concerns the complex relationship between values, intentions, and behavior and he's particularly interested in how individuals can hold pro-environmental values yet exhibit environmentally destructive behaviors. He is also interested in the relationship between gender and environmentally-relevant behavior, particularly the ways in which strong adherence to stereotypic gender norms can undermine pro-environmental attitudes and behavior for both women and men. Daniel serves on the Executive Board of the Society for Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association. He has presented his work in a variety of settings including regional, national, and international conferences and he has received media coverage in the Washington Post, Fashionista, Fashion Canada, and Vanity Fair.

Daniel L. Benkendorf, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology, Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY