LONDON, United Kingdom — Join us on June 17, 2020 for the first BoF Professional Summit on How to Build a Responsible Fashion Business, presented by Shopify Plus, available exclusively for our BoF Professional members in more than 125 countries around the world, featuring keynote speakers including Levi's chief executive Chip Bergh, Bangladeshi garment worker activist Kalpona Akter, designer Eileen Fisher and Aniyia Williams, executive director of Black & Brown Founders.
The financial crisis precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed long-standing problems with fashion’s extractive business model, revealing the industry’s underbelly. To put things in perspective:
- Last year, the fashion industry produced 114 billion pieces of clothing, nearly 15 new garments for every person on the planet, numbers that sit at odds with many brands’ sustainability marketing.
- Fashion is one of the largest employers in the world, with more than 100 million people working in factories, creative studios, boardrooms and on the shop floor. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, many garment workers have been left destitute as brands cancelled orders and refused to pay for goods already produced. What's more, creative and business leadership teams of major brands are not representative of the wider group of customers they serve.
- Between $20 and $30 billion of investment is needed every year to ensure fashion meets global climate and development goals in the next decade. The industry’s survival may depend on doing so.
The BoF Professional Summit will be a practical, hands-on half-day live programme of conversations, workshops, keynotes and panels, all focused on helping creatives, business leaders and entrepreneurs begin their journey towards more responsible fashion business practices, with an opportunity to learn about:
- Emerging business models for sustainable business growth and profit
- Understanding the ecological impact of over-consumption
- Avoiding the 'greenwashing trap'
- Tools like the Higg Index to calculate the environmental impact of a product
- Transforming existing garments and objects into creative products
Below is a list of confirmed speakers. If you are not already a BoF Professional member, you can take advantage of our limited offer to try full access for 30 days to experience all of the benefits of a BoF Professional membership.
Kalpona Akter is the founder and executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS), where she campaigns for worker safety, fair wages and the right to labour unions. Akter has been a key player in urging Western brands to sign on to the Bangladesh Accord following the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 and her US Congress testimony helped frame legislation against slave-labour conditions for clothing. She began working at garment factories in her native Bangladesh aged 12, and since 2000 has devoted herself to trade unions and activism.
August Bard-Bringéus is the co-founder of Asket. His remit is broad, covering marketing, e-commerce, product as well as special projects. He has continued to push for change in the fashion industry by introducing wholly new business practices; from launching Asket’s Traceability Standard, which aims to achieve 100 percent traceability across the collection’s supply chain, to introducing a lifecycle analysis project. Prior to starting Asket, Bard-Bringéus worked in management consultancy as well as at a fintech start-up.
Chip Bergh is the president & chief executive of Levi Strauss & Co, one of the world's largest brand-name apparel companies with a global footprint of approximately 3,000 retail stores and shop-in-shops in over 110 countries. Prior to joining Levi Strauss & Co. in September 2011, Bergh had a 28-year career at Procter & Gamble. He was the first P&G employee assigned to Gillette. In April 2019, he was named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, coming in at No. 16, and has been widely recognised for his position on values-driven leadership.
Sarah Ditty is global policy director at Fashion Revolution, a global movement campaigning for a fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit. She developed the Fashion Transparency Index, an annual review of major global fashion brands ranked according to their level of supply chain transparency. Ditty also leads the Trade Fair Live Fair project, which focuses on raising awareness of sustainable consumption and driving changes in public policies and private sector practices.
Eileen Fisher is the founder and co-chief executive of Eileen Fisher, Inc, the design company known for creating simple, timeless garments, where she also serves as the chairwoman. In 2009 the company started a take-back program — part of a circular system designed to preserve the value of the brand’s clothes at every stage, in any condition. In June 2019, Fisher received the Positive Change Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). In April 2019, she was honoured as Designer of the Year by the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
Nicole McLaughlin is a designer based in New York City. Her first major steps towards establishing an independent practice started at Reebok, where she worked as a graphic designer for main-line products, as well as collaborations with brands like Vetements. An eager autodidact, McLaughlin started teaching herself product design on the side by thrifting discarded miscellanea and upcycling them into wearable goods. Since uploading her first viral designs to Instagram, McLaughlin has come to personify the intersection between sustainable manufacturing practices and DIY creative processes.
As Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Executive Director, Amina Razvi is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the organisation. Previously, she was the vice president of membership at the SAC and worked with global members to increase adoption of the Higg Index and improvement of Higg scores through impact solutions. Prior to joining the SAC, Razvi was a senior manager on the global sustainability team at Gap Inc., where she led environmental initiatives across owned and operated facilities as well as in the supply chain.
Aniyia Williams is a creator, inventor, and tech changemaker. She serves as executive director of Black & Brown Founders, which provides vital resources to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs building tech companies with limited capital. She is also co-founder of Zebras Unite, an entrepreneur-led movement focused on creating a more ethical and sustainable start-up ecosystem.