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Fashion & Impact: Challenges in Making Ethical & Sustainable Fashion

  • Tue, July 19, 2016
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Hokin Gallery, 623 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL


  • Registration code required (student ID required)
  • For active dues-paying members of NIC only

Registration is closed

Join us July 19, 6:008:00pm, at the Hokin Gallery for a panel about the social and environmental impact of fashion, and the challenges that businesses in the industry face.

Our panelists will discuss how changes in manufacturing and supply chain logistics can have a major impact on the environment and in the lives of the people who make our clothing.

Katherine Bissell Córdova came on board as Executive Director of Chicago Fair Trade in 2014, after over 20 years working for human rights, immigrant rights, and worker rights organizations. Besides her work as Executive Director in Chicago, Katherine also serves as Co-Chair of Fair Trade Campaign’s National Fair Trade Towns’ Steering Committee. She first became involved with Chicago Fair Trade as a business member when she helped open Greenheart Shop. Prior to that, Katherine served as the Executive Director of ARISE Chicago, which partners with low-wage immigrant workers as they organize for improvements in the workplace. She has also held past positions in the United States, Honduras, and Guatemala with GreenWood Alliance, Peace Brigades International, the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors for Torture, and the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago. Her work on the Executive Committee of the Marjorie Kovler Center earned her a Casa Guatemala’s Human Rights Award.

Katherine has completed several trainings including Axelson Center’s Executive Director Boot Camp, the Non-Profit Financial Management Center’s Training, Chicago Conservation Corps Leadership Training, the Executive Service Corps Interim Executive Director’s Training, Community Media Workshop Boot Camp, and Midwest Academy’s Community Organizers Training. She is fluent in Spanish.

Shifra Whiteman is a Chicago-based designer launching her own ethical fashion brand, Pintl+Keyt. Holding a BFA from University of Michigan and a Masters in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago, she spent the last five years designing textiles for various Chicago-based fair trade companies. She is an advocate for ethical and impactful fashion, fluent Yiddish speaker, and piñata enthusiast. Connect with Shifra on Twitter and Instagram @ShifW. Follow Pintl+Keyt on Facebook @pintlandkeyt and Instagram @pintl_and_keyt.

Ashlee Piper is a political strategist turned vegan and eco-lifestyle expert, writer, and TV personality whose work has been featured in/on Refinery29, Apartment Therapy, Dwell, Reader’s Digest, Mirror Mirror, Mind Body Green, Vegetarian Times, AOL’s Lifestyle Collective, NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX News (Reel here). You can follow her award-winning site, The Little Foxes, watch as she solves beauty dilemmas for Refinery29, and check her vegan recipes on MindBodyGreen, AOL, and Home Chef. She holds a BA from Brown University, an MA from the University of Oxford, UK, and a degree in Holistic Health from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University. Ashlee lives in Chicago, IL. Connect with Ashlee on Facebook/Twitter @thelilfoxes and Instagram


Taylor McCleneghan is the production manager at Mata Traders, a design driven, fair trade fashion brand bringing uncommonly vibrant clothing and accessories to women everywhere.  A creative DIY-er and a practiced problem-solver, Taylor has worn many hats at Mata since she started with the company 6 years ago. From wholesale customer service manager, she moved on to graphic designer and photographer, and now serves as the production manager to our 6 producer groups in India and Nepal. Taylor's biggest challenge and proudest accomplishment to date is making sure our hand-made goods deliver on a fashion-calendar schedule and that their quality competes with main-stream brands. One of her favorite parts of the job is the time she gets to spend on the ground in India and Nepal building relationships with our artisan producers. Follow Mata Traders on Facebook/Twitter @matatraders.

Panel Moderated by:

Jessica Rivas is a sustainability professional with more than fifteen years’ experience across the apparel, agricultural, electronics, consumer goods, and legal sectors. Jessica is a Sustainability & Business Development Consultant and Adjunct Professor at DePaul University teaching Sustainable Supply Chains. She has worked with a variety of companies who use their business models to affect social and environmental change, from start-up social enterprises trying to scale to Fortune 500 companies. Jessica has worked internationally on sustainable supply chain issues and developed ethical sourcing strategies with companies and their suppliers in over 30 countries, including apparel and footwear companies. She holds an MBA from ESADE Business School in Spain and a JD from William Mitchell College of Law Jessica currently serves as the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships on the Executive Board for Net Impact Chicago.


NIC's Fashion and Impact panel will be hosted by Columbia College's Hokin Gallery (623 S. Wabash) during "Purchasing Power: Chicago’s Relationship with Conscious Consumerism." The exhibition will run from June 15 to September 22 and addresses the reality of manufacturing, Chicago’s history of labor practices, alternative brands, and how to take action. Follow Hokin on Twitter @hokingallery and Instagram @thehokin.

Heshima KenyaHeshima Kenya is a Chicago-grown non-profit organization specializes in identifying and protecting unaccompanied and separated refugee children and youth living in Kenya, especially girls, young women and their children. Their shelter, education and community outreach services, coupled with local resources and the refugee community, empower this population to live healthy lives. By providing resources for long-term support, these girls and young women become catalysts for strengthening networks and creating sustainable change within the local and global communities. Part of their efforts include a fast-growing social enterprise called The Maisha Collective, which produces beautiful scarves and accessories that will be available for sale on July 19. Connect with Heshima Kenya on Facebook @HeshimaKenya and Twitter @Heshima_Kenya.

Sandpiper Imports is a fair trade company that offers a unique & classic collection of high quality .925 sterling silver jewelry designed and handcrafted by a small group of artisans in Bali, Indonesia. As a member of Chicago Fair Trade and The Fair Trade Federation, we follow nine established fair trade principles and work directly with a silversmith community of twelve artisans in a small village an hour outside of Ubud, a city well-regarded as the cultural and artistic heart of Bali. The high level of craftsmanship has been passed on from generation to generation. Sandpiper Imports honors the cultural creativity of our artisans by selecting pieces that were designed by them. Whether you fall in love with a traditional Balinese filigree style or a design with a more contemporary flair, your gorgeous and timeless new jewelry fosters economic sustainability for this community and helps to keep this craft alive. Follow on Twitter at @sandpiperimprts and Instagram at @sanpiper_imports. 

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