- Inka ApterFacilitating Manager of Fabric R&D, Eileen FisherInka ApterFacilitating Manager of Fabric R&D, Eileen Fisher
Sustainable Cotton Panel | Weds. Oct. 11th
Inka Apter - Facilitating Manager of Fabric R&D at Eileen Fisher with 20 years of experience sourcing and developing fabrics with mills across the globe. My passion for fibers, textiles and know-how of the textile industry has led me on a quest for beautiful sustainable materials. Leading the Fabric R&D team at Eileen Fisher has enabled me to collaborate with like-minded producers on new frontiers of development and work on reaching our company sustainability goals while maintaining unique design esthetic and high quality criteria. My current focus is on recycled materials, technologies and circular economy for textiles.
On a personal history level, I was born in Dubrovnik, Croatia. I studied ethnology , cultural anthropology and textile restoration. My job at EF has allowed me to seamlessly blend passion for textiles with desire to protect the environment and reduce waste.
- Cara ChaconPatagoniaVentura, CaliforniaCara ChaconPatagonia
Cara has worked in the corporate responsibility industry as an executive, consultant, trainer and auditor for the past 20 years. She is currently Patagonia’s VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility and leads a global team of professionals that set strategy and implement the company’s sustainability initiatives. Cara is also the co-chair of Patagonia's sustainability decision making body called the “Footprint Council.” She also served on the Board of Directors of the Fair Labor Association from 2012 to 2016. In her past role at STR Responsible Sourcing, she led a global team dedicated to the development and execution of CSR/sustainability trainings and capacity building engagements for brands, suppliers and auditors. In her career, Cara has conducted over 1,000 supplier social and environmental compliance assessments and capacity building engagements in over 35 countries across 25 different industries. She has a Master’s degree in International Affairs and a Bachelor’s degree in Government from California State University, Sacramento.
- Peter ChowGroup Director, Global Sourcing at EsquelPeter ChowGroup Director, Global Sourcing at Esquel
Peter has been with the Esquel Group for 13 years and had previously held various key positions in Finance and Internal Audit. Currently as the Group Director of Global Sourcing, Peter is mainly responsible for planning and overseeing the overall procurement of key materials and machinery including cotton, yarn, sub-materials, chemicals and garment and textile machines. He is leading a team of 90 professionals across the globe. His focuses are on transformation of traditional purchase to strategic procurement as well as people development. Before joining the Esquel Group, Peter began his professional audit training at PricewaterhouseCoopers and later worked for Novel Group and Glorious Sun Group.
- Paolo FogliaICEABologna, ItalyPaolo FogliaICEA
Paolo has been personally involved in the development of the organic textile sector since 1998 when he developed the first Italian standard for organic textile and the related certification scheme. Paolo organized the first international conference on organic textile in Italy in 1999. He was appointed Textile Certification Manager in 2000. Since then, Paolo has been actively involved and committed in the development of the organic textile sector, managing ICEA’s certification scheme, participating in the development of the Global Organic Textile Standard and attending seminars/conferences around the world. He actively participates in the TE Global Recycled Standard International Working Group as well. Paolo has a master degree in agricultural economics, and more than 20 years of experience in the certification of environmentally sound and socially responsible products and services. Currently he is the Research and Development Manager of the Italian Institute for Ethical and Environmental Certification (ICEA) and, at the same time, holds the position of Certification Manager for several sectors including: textile, eco building materials, biofuels, CSR.
- Beth JensenDirector of Sustainable Business Solutions, VF CorporationBeth JensenDirector of Sustainable Business Solutions, VF Corporation
Beth Jensen is Director of Sustainable Business Solutions at VF Corporation. In this role, she is responsible for driving the materials and climate change goals within the Scale for Good pillar of the VF Made for Change strategy. Prior to VF Corporation, Beth spent nearly nine years overseeing sustainability at Outdoor Industry Association, the leading trade association for the outdoor industry. During this time, she built the OIA sustainability program and department from the ground-up, driving collaborative, scaled environmental and social responsibility initiatives within the outdoor products industry via the Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group (OIA SWG). Beth’s role at OIA included strategic planning and budgeting; leadership and development of strategic partnerships, including with Textile Exchange and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition; and oversight of the SWG programs and initiatives.
- Karla MagruderFabrikologyHoboken, NJKarla MagruderFabrikology
Karla Magruder has been in the textile industry for more than 25 years with global experience from fiber to finished garments. She founded Fabrikology International, a textile consulting firm, specializing in textile sourcing, education and business development in 2003. The company has worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors in building strategic development plans, launching new products, and organizing tradeshow seminars and conferences. Karla has led her team in supporting the development of trade between US brands and retailers and garment manufacturers from Haiti and Africa through USAID sponsored programs. She has worked as a Textile Exchange Ambassador with the mission of facilitating the acceleration of sustainable practices in the textile value chain. Prior to founding Fabrikology International she led the apparel launch of Ingeo fibers, the 1st manmade fiber created from 100% annually renewable resources, launched several performance fabrics and technologies in the outdoor and apparel market and headed the development of an active apparel collection for a global company. She has been a Contributing Editor to Textile Insight and EcoTextile News.
- Ben MeadHohenstein InstituteElon, North Carolina, USABen MeadHohenstein Institute
Ben is the Managing Director for Hohenstein Institute Americas. In this role Ben has OEKO-TEX responsibilities for the United States and promotes Hohenstein’s expertise as a globally recognized leader in textile research and testing. He also serves as the company’s liaison with governmental agencies, industry collaborations, and trade associations. He previously consulted with a variety of brands and industry associations including Textile Exchange and AFIRM. In those roles, Ben was responsible for content development, training, and establishing partnerships withindustry leaders and experts to increase industry engagement in green chemistry and sustainable textile processing. Ben started his career working for Nike, Inc where he helped develop a restricted substances program and was also involved in implementation of both sustainable materials and water programs. Ben has degrees in Chemistry and Textile Chemistry from North Carolina State University.
- Felix RauerOtto GroupHamburg, GermanyFelix RauerOtto Group
Felix has worked in the environmental field for the past 10 years. At the Otto Group, he has been responsible for sustainable products, working intensively with different stakeholders. This included working together with TE on transparency and more stringent certifications around organic cotton and down. He developed the sustainable textile strategy including both a communication frame and a toolkit to rate fibers and standards and is guiding the various companies and departments among the Otto Group to integrate sustainability into their business model. Felix is also involved into the work of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles with a focus on chemical management and capacity development.
- Orlando RiveraBergman Rivera SACLima, PeruOrlando RiveraBergman Rivera SAC
Orlando is the CEO of Bergman/Rivera, a Peruvian company he founded in 2007 to consolidate his father’s 20 year legacy promoting the production of organic cotton in Peru. During the last 13 years, Orlando has been working directly with Peruvian organic farmers, offering them better and diverse opportunities; such as finding markets for rotation crops, improving yields and creating transparent supply chains with international partners.
Bergman/Rivera has become an integrated company, offering a wide range of sustainable textiles, from yarns to ready-made garments. Orlando led Bergman/Rivera to become the first company in Latin America to be fully GOTS certified and worked directly with small CMT units to offer higher quality products and to certify them fair trade. The result of his work successfully translates into being the largest organic cotton producer in Latin America.
- Heinrich SchultzVice Chair | Founder of OrganiMarkStellenbosch, South AfricaHeinrich SchultzVice Chair | Founder of OrganiMark
OrganiMark, founded in July 2008, is a food, textiles and leather supply chain engineering and management firm linking sustainable primary producers with high value local and global markets. The Firm specializes in supply chain optimization and trade management through investing in agricultural production zones and value added processing facilities for sustainably produced products. The company’s aim is to create sustainable businesses through long term supply chain partnerships in line with its brand integrity and identity, which promotes economic, social and environmental responsibility.
Heinrich is also the Chairman of Textile Exchange Europe and recently founded the Southern African Sustainable Cotton Cluster where he serves as Executive Manager and Board Member. Heinrich has a Business Degree from the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and completed his training in Leather Processing with LIRI at Rhodes University (South Africa), and Textile& Garment Manufacturing with CSIR TexTech at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (South Africa).
- Amit ShahSpectrumMumbai, IndiaAmit ShahSpectrum
Amit, CEO & Founding Director of Spectrum International has been an integral part of the textile industry for the past 22 years. Starting with his 84-year old legacy business of cotton spinning, Amit integrated the business backwards to farm and gin organic cotton in 1998. Since then Amit has always focused in trying to create a business model that has social, environmental and economic development as its core drivers. Amit's unique strength lies in bringing to commercial fruition ideas that most often stay in the realm of non-profits. Today, Spectrum works with over 80,000 farmers for growing organic and sustainable products in India in 4 different states and catering to over 10 retailer brand value-chains globally. Amit's personal goal right from the beginning was to work with marginal farmers of India for the development of society creating businesses that not only excite the bottom-line but add value to the people of this country and the world. He strives for every day.
- Sarah ThorsonExecutive Committee Chair; TargetMinneapolis, Minnesota, USASarah ThorsonExecutive Committee Chair; Target
Sarah Thorson has been with Target for 14 years and has responsibility for leading teams that span Product Engineering, Product Insights, Project Management and Global Operations for apparel, home, hardlines and commodity products. She has also led teams in Global Sourcing, and spent 11 years with Vanity Fair as the Target Representative in Minneapolis. She is passionate about sustainability, innovation and R&D, as well as understanding the guest needs. She was raised in Minneapolis and attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus for Accounting.
- Heidi VaughanSenior Director, NikeHeidi VaughanSenior Director, Nike
Heidi Vaughan is a SR Director at Nike, Inc. working in Global Apparel Materials leading development teams responsible for Color, Branding & Packaging, and Print & Pattern. She has been with Nike, Inc. for 29 years, and her experience has ranged from SR Material Research Director in Apparel Innovation focusing on engineered textiles, to Apparel Material Manufacturing Director in both Asia and the Americas. Her responsibilities included strategic source base management focused on holistic supply chain engagement from fibers to finishes. She has been actively involved in implementing and scaling Nike’s environmentally preferred material initiatives. Heidi has a strong appreciation for the need to embed sustainable practices throughout every aspect of textile manufacturing- from concept through production.
- Marci ZaroffFounder/CEO, MetaWear; Founder, Under the Canopy; Author, ECOrenaissance: Co-creating a Stylish, Sexy and Sustainable WorldNew York City, New York, USAMarci ZaroffFounder/CEO, MetaWear; Founder, Under the Canopy; Author, ECOrenaissance: Co-creating a Stylish, Sexy and Sustainable World
Marci coined the term “ECOfashion” and is an internationally recognized ECOlifestyle entrepreneur, educator, innovator and expert. Founder of Under the Canopy and Metawear and Producer of “THREAD Documentary|Driving Fashion Forward,” Marci has been instrumental in driving authenticity, environmental leadership & social justice worldwide for over 25 years. Board Member of the Organic Trade Association, Textile Exchange, Fashion Revolution Day and Fashion Positive, Zaroff was a key figure in the development of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and first Fair Trade Textile Certification. Marci has received countless recognitions, including the Natural Product Industry's "Socially Responsible Business Award," New York Moves "Power Woman Award," Fashion Group International's "Rising Star Award” and a prestigious “Henry Crown Fellowship” of The Aspen Institute, and is featured in the book “ECO AMAZONS: 20 Women Who Are Transforming the World.”
European Board of Trustees
- Arun AmbatipudiChetna OrganicSecunderabad, India
- Prama BhardwajMantis WorldLondon, UKPrama BhardwajMantis World
Prama started Mantis World with her student savings and it is now a successful supplier of blank clothing to the imprintables industry across Europe. Sourcing from Tanzania, Bangladesh and Pakistan, they were the first company in the UK imprintable sector to introduce organic cotton garments. Mantis World is recognized as a pioneer in sustainable fashion basic blanks, the largest supplier of blank babywear in Europe and has won multiple awards.
- La Rhea PepperManaging DirectorLander, Wyoming, USALa Rhea PepperManaging Director
La Rhea has an extensive background in the organic cotton agricultural sector as well as management and marketing. She is a 5th generation cotton farmer in Texas and her farm has been certified organic since 1991. She completed her BS in Education at Abilene Christian University in 1979 and Master of Business – Organizational Leadership in 2016. La Rhea was one of the co-founders of Organic Exchange and served as Chair of the Board until 2005 and then joined the Management TEam with the Exchange.
La Rhea currently represents Textile Exchange on the Board of Directors for CottonConnect and the Regenerative Organic Alliance. Member of the Senior Advisory Team.