041 – Patrick Duffy of Global Fashion Exchange – The Power to Make Change

Patrick Duffy

Innovative clothing swap events, curated talks and cultural activations globally…

Patrick DuffyPatrick Duffy, Founder of Global Fashion Exchange (an international platform promoting sustainability in the fashion industry with inspiring forums, educational content and cultural events, which through interactive clothing swaps empowers consumers to take action for a better environment while they stylishly renew their wardrobe and save hundreds of thousands of cloths from going to landfill), joins Stephanie Benedetto, Samanta Cortes, and guest host Charles Beckwith (American Fashion Podcast) in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:Patrick Duffy

  • Duffy discusses how the Global Fashion Exchange has become something which travels all over the world, how it started when he did a collaboration with the UN Peace Boat with an information booth along with other sustainable fashion organizations
  • How he was later invited to the UN, then asked to be a moderator, how so many people thought the travel industry was fluff and realized how much more there was later once the info was deployed
  • Global Fashion Exchange (GFX) started as a clothing swap to engage people en masse
  • Now GFX takes the mission around the world, promoting sustainability and what to do with clothing consumers and brands don’t want
  • How GFX has turned into a communications platform and a consultancy, with a global network of people who want to create change in the fashion industry
  • GFX’s partnership with major brands, and a fashion week in Lisbon
  • Duffy explains how people bring clothing, creating a swapping experience that looks and feels like a high end department store, and after the exchange people keep clothing and recycle the rest
  • GFX Local, having a clothing swap in one’s hometown, with the goal to get 100 cities by end of year
  • Why Duffy is a man without a physical address, after he had an “aha moment”, and when from the tail end of running a restaurant, to self education in industry and soul searching, and ultimately decided to go full on into it, become nomadic with his efforts, and got rid of everything he owned
  • The main goal of a million tons of clothing swapped
  • How lack of knowledge in the industry causes ignorance of the issue and a need for action
  • And how positioning as for planet and profit can get more brands on board
  • Duffy discusses the massive excess of goods sitting in warehouses costing money, and what if you can monetize that
  • The need for legal regulation to force
  • Deforestation in fashion manufacturing
  • How Duffy works out twice daily, pushing heavy things
  • What’s possible given the inspiration of what Duffy has accomplished, from singing on tables to speaking at the UN, and the power to make change

040 – Brennan Lowery – Lasting Impact

Brennan Lowery

Looking at Kate Spade’s successful supply-chain social responsibility program in Rwanda…

Why would Kate Spade New York, an iconic brand with a global presence, extend a part of its supply chain, taking on major challenges, to go into a developing country? A fashion consultant supported a social responsibility program that was successful, with profitability and lasting impact focused on empowering women. Brennan Lowery, a consultant in the social responsibility and business development space, and a former Program Manager for Karisimbi Business Partners, a partner of Kate Spade New York’s On Purpose CSR program in Rwanda, joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • A look at why Kate Spade New York decided to undertake the program and initiative in Rwanda
  • The meaning for employees of a brand that’s willing to spend money outside of their internal needs
  • Being committed to seeing women empowered in different parts of world, transforming community, creating a new cutting-edge model for the space of social enterprise
  • The opportunity for a developing country to compete in a world of global suppliers
  • Participation by a number of partners and experts as part of plan in Rwanda, plus cooperation and support by both US and Rwandan governments
  • Each Rwanda employee (mostly women) averages 4.5 dependents, and the initiative resulted in positive impact on other local business
  • The need for a brand to be telling a story about the specific products coming out of a developing country that it is benefitting
  • The goal to work oneself out of a job, and hire a Rwandan in one’s place
  • The need in more parts of East Africa, and between Central and South America
  • Find pockets and create jobs, teach skills and provide training
  • Evaluating what space a brand wants to impact, greater meaning for employees and consumers, and the need to see transformation
  • What motivated Lowery and what planted the seed with the brand
  • A dream of hospitality with meaning
  • How there is still a lot of work to be done, and a need to do something

039 – Vince Lebon of Rollie Nation – Designing a Playful Community

Rollie Nation

Making perfect travel shoes that are incredibly light and ridiculously comfortable…

Rollie NationVince Lebon, Founder of Rollie Nation (the shoe lifestyle brand for the young at heart), joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

Rollie Nation

  • Meeting Stephanie on a sustainability panel
  • Rollie Nation, a footwear brand started around 5 years ago in Australia, lightweight, extreme risk with color and prints
  • A community that wants to express themselves through footwear, just living and enjoying life
  • Lace Up, a reality TV show, designing sneakers for celebrities
  • Wanting to take a design sabbatical, working with the ex creative director of Jordan brand and first materials designer at Nike
  • The power of persistence in getting in, how he thought the show is docudrama and it became real reality show, not a great environment to create
  • The amount and level of work one can create was amazing
  • Growing up playing basketball in Australia, getting a job in afootwear company as multimedia designer, how he got good at designing shoes realistically in Photoshop that weren’t even made and selling them
  • Spec sheets for footwear
  • How the Rollie Nation shoe is lighter than a pair of flip-flops, but fully functional
  • Well-made shoes, how he took out shanks, and created an invisible heel to distribute weight, and don’t need the shank
  • Found thin plastic counterweights which hold shape, taking things out, keeping what’s necessary
  • Most customers are not designers, don’t know how materials work together etc.
  • Customization can be for or with you, and can be from performance to materials to appearance
  • Protecting IP, the bigger Rollie Nation gets, the more they get copied, including an entire line being copied before release — brand loyalty helps protect IP
  • Material science will be increasingly very important
  • Lebon feels the future holds satellite factories closer to market, will be heavily robotic-focused
  • Synergy amongst designers, collaboration is the biggest focus
  • Rollie Nation is not a shoe company, but an experience brand that makes footwear
    Lebon’s interest in designing a hotel
  • Where the name Rollie Nation came from (and it is not where you think), playfulness and community
  • The goal of no waste with other materials, genetically modified leathers
  • Semi-transparent leather
  • Lebon’s favorite mobile apps
  • Why not to get complacent

038 – Alexandra Suzanne Greenawalt of Alexandra Stylist – Chosen Carefully

Alexandra Stylist

Choosing the right fabrics for personal styling…

Alexandra StylistAlexandra Suzanne Greenawalt, Founder of Alexandra Stylist, joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Fabric is important as personal stylist
  • Today’s consumer is more educated, more interested in fabric content
  • Prices going up made consumers more conscious of the nature and origins of fabricAlexandra Stylist
  • Greenawalt’s target and origins of customers, all on a mission, someone who has been through a change (jobs, divorce, weight change, inner issues, etc.) take a look at closet, what they’ve been doing isn’t working, wanting to change and feel better.
  • How clothing is sized unevenly all over the world
  • Brands are not employing internal stylists enough, not matching what consumers want with what is displayed and in inventory in physical retail stores
  • How her book came about
  • Alexandra StylistA lot of people talking about dressing for cheap, look like a lot, or high end, very few talking about real woman in the middle who wants to just look good every day
  • Made in America and sustainability, and customization—how does this play into
  • Greenawalt’s styling process and selections
  • Why shoes are the number one pain point of clients
  • The price of being visible, and Greenawalt’s strangest business experience
  • A secret passion, and kicking the door down for success

037 – Meredith Finkelstein of Print All Over Me – Out of This World Customized Apparel

Meredith Finkelstein

Online platform for pro and amateur designers…

Meredith FinkelsteinMeredith Finkelstein, Co-Founder of Print All Over Me (an online platform for pro and amateur designers to create, share, sell, and collaborate) joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

Creating a platform, being a small business, and leveraging a brother’s studio

Finkelstein discusses founding the company with her brother Jesse, creating a platform for collaborating and creating customer apparel and accessories. Being a small business, programming, sampling, traveling, having factories in US and overseas, working with family, wanting to integrate fashion and manufacturing, and integrating democratization. A bomber jacket with company brand and logo on it for Stephanie, and standing out, being able to have an apparel company. Leveraging the studio her brother Jesse already had and modifying it to do this.

The fragmented consumer, fabric geeks, and using the platform

Meredith FinkelsteinLooking at Made in USA, customization, how many people they work with to launch their own brands, a social element, being able to test items, a paradigm shift, and fragmentation of American consumer. Sampling items seen in magazines and online and making apparel from them. Sourcing of materials, an abandoned plan of access to a library of 5,000 fabrics to offer online. Being fabric geeks, the process of using the Print All Over Me platform, silhouette selection, uploading a print, and how the platform does a layout for you with flexibility and functionality. Machine learning tools, running against a database of images, and the possible liability for use of copyrighted images.

Collaborations, clothing for outer space, and customization

A collaboration with Target for the opening of a new store, collaborating with various artists, goals for manufacturing domestically, and eyes on making clothing for outer space. Zero marginal cost clothing, self-repairing apparel, printing in space, Meredith’s block party about crypto currency, and transparency on supply chain. Customization, incorporating embroidery, flocking, not being able to take on everything at once, focusing on core competencies, and three people she would bring to outer space.

036 – Timur Yumusaklar of Schumacher – Style, Taste, and Innovation

Timur Yumusaklar

Fabrics, wall coverings, trimmings, furnishings, and floor coverings from Schumacher

Timur YumusaklarTimur Yumusaklar, CEO of F. Schumacher and Co, a 128 year old company offering fabric, wallpaper, trims, rugs and carpets (and according to Wikipedia “the only supplier of decorative textiles from the 19th century”), still privately owned and managed by direct descendants of its founder, joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Studios powered by Sennheiser.

A long-standing design company, linen and wool, and success in the face of a changing industry

Timur YumusaklarYumusaklar discusses the importance of looking beyond customers, understanding how far fabric can go, the love of an incredible fabric that didn’t sell, and being one of the longest standing design companies in America, from the Roosevelt’s to the Kennedy’s. Being a global business and helping people understand textiles in a digital sphere, working with decorators, Belgian linen, alpaca wool, the best wool, customization and pricing in the face of changing spending habits and political and economic climates, and how these are impacting Schumacher.

Inspiring conversion, focusing on trends, and Made in America

Timur YumusaklarBalancing conversion and a reputation for luxury, and the value of not being pushed through a sales funnel but instead just inspiring them. A focus of looking for trends, getting them right, not having to always get into detail of numbers. Why it is important to bring trades back to USA, Made in America, storytelling, luxurious fabric and textiles, and embroidery on wallpaper.

Impact, curiosity, and red vs. blue

Thinking about new considerations with fabric and interiors and materials. Wanting to make an impact, a German upbringing, rational things and psychology, red vs. blue, curiosity, and why we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.

Happier, Healthier, Better – 2018 Ford Trends Report with Sheryl Connelly

Sheryl Connelly

Big picture global macro patterns and behaviors, with Sheryl Connelly…

Sheryl ConnellySheryl Connelly, Global Trends and Futuring Manager (a.k.a. Corporate Futurist) for Ford Motor Company, talks with MouthMedia Network President Pavan Bahl about the insights and implications of the 2018 Ford Trends Report. Recorded at the MouthMedia Network studios, powered by Sennheiser. Read the 2018 Ford Trends Report here.

Data for all, giving younger people purpose, and seeking solutions

Connelly reveals how the report previously was kept proprietary and inside Ford, but now it is cascading it widely, as it is functionally agnostic. The brief is that the more it was shared that Ford received more insights. She discusses how trust is a trend that can’t be overestimated. She reviews the personal note to the reader, and how disorientation, disparity, and inequities cannot be ignored anymore, that people want to explore them and look for solutions and how the world is committed to looking for solutions. Being thoughtful in how to engage young people to give them purpose, working in emerging markets, endeavoring to be sure Ford is meaning the same thing around the world, elevating to truly a global space. How the whole landscape of automotive industry is evolving, and Ford is playing a leadership role.

An activist awakening, mental and physical health, and the Ford Hub

Sheryl ConnellyUncertainty and confusion globally, an activist awakening, discovering the degree of intolerance of opposing viewpoints, and the understanding of the impact of individual actions on change. When thinking about solutions, whether women can feel safe and have accessible options, a societal cultural shift, how mental well being goes along with physical health, creating a culture of curiosity that opens the door for innovation, the impact of sleep on health and weight loss, disconnecting from work in order to grow and explore, and mending the mind. Retail, and pop up retailers such as Story offers evolution in use case and agile experiences. And the Ford Hub brand experience in the World Trade Center Oculus in New York City.

Managing data, autonomous vehicles, and the changing family

How the younger generation doesn’t care about giving personal information, and how brands can be distinguished by how they act as stewards of info. Autonomous driving features/autonomous vehicles, how we are already driving a semiautonomous vehicle, so the building blocks are already there. Bringing autonomous vehicles widely into reality will be partly dependent on legal, municipal, and other influencers, and how with this comes a greater level of responsibility for Ford. In 2021, when Ford brings its first autonomous vehicles to the streets will they be ride hailing and package delivery vehicles. Ford is “all in” with major investment and commitment, and it is something definitely coming. What it looks like offers various possibilities, addressing concerns of jobs going away. In the past the biggest fear with automation was what we’d do with our leisure time, but that didn’t happen. A lot of data in the “singled out” section—a lot of data on what average family means, for first time in America’s history there are more single people than married. Yet people maintain that single people are treated differently, and the definition of the nuclear family has changed. What kind of vehicles does that now mean, understanding how shifts might change affects how and where production is determined.The future plays out in ways that are tough to imagine. The resilience of the human spirit, and awe inspiring, head scratching data.

035 – George Kalajian of Tom’s Sons Pleating – Writing the Book on Pleating


The art and mastery of pleating fabric…

pleatingGeorge Kalajian of Tom’s Sons Pleating International Pleating (a pleating contractor in New York City working in textile pleating and fabric texturizing) and author  joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

Three generations of pleating, a unique company, and relevance of the garment district

pleatingKalajian shares how the company has been around since 1931, offers third generation pleating expertise, and how his great, great grandfather had a textile mill. His parents came to New York after escaping a civil war in Lebanon, and how only for the past 5-6 years the company stopped making clothing and is now doing only what they do best — pleating. How the company is unique, there’s no other garment manufacturer that became a pleater, and they can offer clients so much more than just pleating. There are considerations, and the complexity of systematic folding of fabric, with many variables. The importance of being in a single location for specialized fields like pleating, and how there’s no way to share what designers need to see over great distances.

The best fabrics for pleating, writing a book, and why his father is like Google

pleatingHe discusses his uncle’s clients in Lebanon, and a family history and legacy in pleating. How synthetics are best for pleating, polyester the best of them, and pleated silks actually last if you don’t wear them. Humidity and body heat releases fibers and pleats. Plus–the oldest garment ever found was a pleated garment. How an introduction to his new book “Pleating” includes forward by Jack from Mood Fabrics, and why it took four years to complete. The challenging and complex task of writing about something that had never been written before or codified, pulling from a sea of data in his father’s brain, and why his dad is like Google. Why he wrote the book, and how it relates to him being the only person who could have written it, as no one else has a father who grew up in factory, an uncle’s mill, a sewing school and pleating school. Why it was not the book he intended to write, and a race against clock to get the info from his father.

A production app, a wedding dress, and Superman’s cape

pleatingAn app My Production Pal, the mathematical and geometrical parts of pleating, and how there is no “language” for pleating. Kalajian also reveals how an important component of his family business is top secret, while he concentrates on teaching what do you do with the pleating. How Kalajian hand pleated his wife’s wedding dress, finishing only in the last moment. How his first memory of pleating is when he got in trouble with a red satin Superman cape, finding something you are passionate about, a basic purpose in life to make something beautiful, working with family, and following passion and bliss.

034 – Jessica Schreiber of FABSCRAP – Trash Nerds Getting Scrappy

Textile recycling for business in New York City in fashion, interior design, entertainment, and more…

Jessica Schreiber, Founder of FABSCRAP (a one-stop ton-profit textile reuse and recycling resource in New York City), joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

A massive problem, a protecting proprietary material, and the challenge of spandex and leather

Schreiber reveals the origins of the company, working at the NYC Sanitation Department, the creation of a working group when working through problem was private, clearly defining what the problem was, creating a central way brands can transport waste and meet minimum requirements, protecting proprietary material via sorting, delivering bags, brands filling the bags, proprietary leather and spandex going to landfill (can’t be recycled), and everything else being recycled.

Fiber-to-fiber tech, compliance, and transparency allows market share

Holding fibers that are 100% cotton, wool or poly for fiber-to-fiber technologies, due to developing tech, and then hoarding stock now in anticipation of relationships. Why proprietary spandex and leather can’t be recycled into new textiles, compliance with NYC law, how until recently there was no reporting requirement for companies, and the opportunity for a transparency on what you’re throwing out and what you’re recycling. The road ahead with an opportunity to put out industry cumulative reports, how people are checking for recycling info and corporate social responsibility statements with products.

Volunteers, bringing fabric to the people, and Project Runway

Working with volunteers with a monumental task of helping to sort through fabric (they get 5 lbs. of fabric for volunteering), hoping to mechanize that process, and working on ways to bring fabric to people — such as pop up shops. An appearance on a Project Runway show, resulting successes, and the strategies in trying to get more people to know about the mission and organization. A round of personal questions with “Remnants” covers a dinner with Bethany Frankel, Bill McKibben, The Obamas, and fighting the family pattern.