Jill Heller tells us what is happening all around the United States concerning eco-fashion, starting from Sustainatopia conference in Miami.

Jill Heller shares her thought leadership on sustainable fashion and textiles, with John Rosser, Founder of Sustainatopia.

« I recently traveled to Miami, Florida to attend the Sustainatopia conference. Sustainatopia 2014 featured outstanding social entrepreneurs from around the world. The most important issues of our day, encompassing fashion, health, education, energy, women’s empowerment, water, food, and sanitation were addressed.

The Ethical Fashion & Sustainable Design Summit is a global, ground­breaking meeting for the entire eco­system of sustainable design. We support and encourage budding social entrepreneurs, many of them in the field of Ethical Fashion. Matt Reynolds, President and Co­founder of INDIGENOUS received the Sustainatopia Honors for their two­decade commitment to ethical fashion. I was honored to be asked to personally curate the looks for the runway show, a task that provided me with incredible creative challenges, and rewards.

Spanning the course of three days, 50 international speakers will be featured from various sectors of the industry. Collaborating on a speaking panel with Matt Reynolds of Indigenous, Howard Brown of Stewart+Brown, Marci Zaroff of Portico Brands, and Christoph Frehsee of Amour Vert, I willingly opened up the to discussion regarding, The Future Of Fashion And Retail.

Other esteemed and respected individuals who spoke on panels include Debera Johnson, of The Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator(BFDA), Erin Schrode of Teens Going Green who is bringing the mission to a younger age group and Debora Annino of Common Project who is helping the world to navigate eco­friendly brands and industry certification standards.

Throughout my time at Sustainatopia several key ideas surfaced. “Fashion and textile sustainability must start in the design process”. Debera from BFDA started off this conversation by stating that 90% of impact happens while the product is still in the design stage. Matt of Indigenous agreed, stating that “design is a constant challenge in this space because consumers want stylish, fantastic clothing with a background story, and an emotional connection.”

This central idea that design is the most relevant aspect of fashion sustainability resonates deeply with our mission at C.L.A.S.S. By providing a comprehensive eco­textile library for designers and brands, I am committed to making the job of sourcing more enriching and accessible for designers in New York. »

The Ethical Fashion Show during Sustainatopia Honors ’14 with top brands including INDIGENOUS, Pure Thread, Portico Brands Group, Stewart + Brown


I consistently focus not only on making my customers feel and look great, but on building community and educating other industry leaders about the efforts of talented designers, materials and their applications, and values represented by their work. I continually engage both consumers and designers to identify what they want and need, build relationships, with the vision to inspire change, and deepen the market’s commitment to sustainable fashion and textiles from the C.L.A.S.S. library.

(Jill Heller, New York C.L.A.S.S. ambassador and The Pure Thread founder)