STAFF


Ngozi Okaro    Executive Director   Ngozi is as an advocate for socioeconomic justice. She understands the challenges facing women who want nice clothes but whose bodies do not conform to ready-to-wear’s template — the majority of US clothing buyers. Ngozi aims to bridge gaps between constituencies: fashion-industry workers who want fair compensation, thoughtful consumers who want quality clothes, and the natural environment.

Ngozi Okaro

Executive Director

Ngozi is as an advocate for socioeconomic justice. She understands the challenges facing women who want nice clothes but whose bodies do not conform to ready-to-wear’s template — the majority of US clothing buyers. Ngozi aims to bridge gaps between constituencies: fashion-industry workers who want fair compensation, thoughtful consumers who want quality clothes, and the natural environment.

Veronica Jones    Entrepreneurship Coach   Veronica has led a storied career in fashion. Rising from assistant buyer to buyer of contemporary sportswear for major department stores. She traveled across Europe to view collections by Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, Gianni Versace, Blumarine, and Fiorucci. Veronica transitioned from retail to wholesale to become Vice President of Gene Ewing Bis, later opening The Veronica Jones Showroom, her first entrepreneurial venture selling American designers. She is currently a fashion retail consultant advising emerging designers & retailers how to navigate the business of fashion.

Veronica Jones

Entrepreneurship Coach

Veronica has led a storied career in fashion. Rising from assistant buyer to buyer of contemporary sportswear for major department stores. She traveled across Europe to view collections by Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, Gianni Versace, Blumarine, and Fiorucci. Veronica transitioned from retail to wholesale to become Vice President of Gene Ewing Bis, later opening The Veronica Jones Showroom, her first entrepreneurial venture selling American designers. She is currently a fashion retail consultant advising emerging designers & retailers how to navigate the business of fashion.

Constance C.R. White    Media Fellow   Constance is renowned for her wealth of experience and significant contributions across print, broadcast and online media. A veteran writer, editor and arbiter of culture and style, Constance has helped steer brand and editorial direction for some of the most exciting companies, from magazines like Essence and Elle to The New York Times and eBay. She is the author of Stylenoir, a groundbreaking book on black culture and style. Constance White has served as style director for eBay, editor in chief of Essence Magazine, and style reporter for the New York Times. She most recently was editor in chief for Zink Magazine’s Spring/Summer relaunch issue and is also a contributor to TheImpression.com. She has shared her style expertise on the Today Show, CBS and BET.

Constance C.R. White

Media Fellow

Constance is renowned for her wealth of experience and significant contributions across print, broadcast and online media. A veteran writer, editor and arbiter of culture and style, Constance has helped steer brand and editorial direction for some of the most exciting companies, from magazines like Essence and Elle to The New York Times and eBay. She is the author of Stylenoir, a groundbreaking book on black culture and style. Constance White has served as style director for eBay, editor in chief of Essence Magazine, and style reporter for the New York Times. She most recently was editor in chief for Zink Magazine’s Spring/Summer relaunch issue and is also a contributor to TheImpression.com. She has shared her style expertise on the Today Show, CBS and BET.

Tessa Maffucci    Managing Director of Strategy   Tessa is a fashion scholar with a strong interest in creating a more responsible and equitable fashion industry. Her research and professional work focus on sustainable business practices and the intersection between fashion and technology. Tessa teaches in the Fashion Department at Pratt Institute and aspires to make positive change in the global fashion system.

Tessa Maffucci

Managing Director of Strategy

Tessa is a fashion scholar with a strong interest in creating a more responsible and equitable fashion industry. Her research and professional work focus on sustainable business practices and the intersection between fashion and technology. Tessa teaches in the Fashion Department at Pratt Institute and aspires to make positive change in the global fashion system.

Ari Harris    Production Manager   Ari is a sustainable designer based in Brooklyn. She studied fashion design at Colombia College Chicago where she focused her work challenging antiquated ideals in the fashion industry. Since moving to New York, shes worked in many different facets of the industry from couture design to mass production, learning industry standards in production and concept development. Her purpose as a designer is to aid in creating a more inclusive and mindful fashion industry.

Ari Harris

Production Manager

Ari is a sustainable designer based in Brooklyn. She studied fashion design at Colombia College Chicago where she focused her work challenging antiquated ideals in the fashion industry. Since moving to New York, shes worked in many different facets of the industry from couture design to mass production, learning industry standards in production and concept development. Her purpose as a designer is to aid in creating a more inclusive and mindful fashion industry.

Brenna Dolan    Engagement & Sustainability Lead   As an alumni of the Fashion Institute of Technology's Fashion Business Management BS with an Ethics and Sustainability minor, Brenna contributes her passion for developing a more socially, environmentally, and economical sustainable fashion industry.

Brenna Dolan

Engagement & Sustainability Lead

As an alumni of the Fashion Institute of Technology's Fashion Business Management BS with an Ethics and Sustainability minor, Brenna contributes her passion for developing a more socially, environmentally, and economical sustainable fashion industry.

Jennifer Gutierrez    Development Assistant   Jennifer Lee Gutierrez has had a long career in teaching adults and children the English language. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Adult Literacy, Jennifer’s passion dramatically veered into Fashion. She left her 13-year career to begin a new facet in life by learning how to make her own clothes and gained an interest in making clothes for others.  Mid 2018, she took a couple of courses at Mood U in Midtown, New York. Near the end of the year, Jennifer was accepted into Custom Collaborative as a fashion student. Next, she gained acceptance into the 16-week Brooklyn Fashion Academy program where she prepared a capsule collection for the May 2019 fashion show.

Jennifer Gutierrez

Development Assistant

Jennifer Lee Gutierrez has had a long career in teaching adults and children the English language. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Adult Literacy, Jennifer’s passion dramatically veered into Fashion. She left her 13-year career to begin a new facet in life by learning how to make her own clothes and gained an interest in making clothes for others.

Mid 2018, she took a couple of courses at Mood U in Midtown, New York. Near the end of the year, Jennifer was accepted into Custom Collaborative as a fashion student. Next, she gained acceptance into the 16-week Brooklyn Fashion Academy program where she prepared a capsule collection for the May 2019 fashion show.

Alicia Benis    Communications Intern   Alicia is a sophomore at Barnard College studying American Studies and Race and Ethnic Studies. She is interested in intersectionality, and how movements, such as the movement for a more sustainable fashion industry, are (or are not) intersectional and inclusive. She is also interested in advocating for immigrants, especially immigrant women and women of color, as well as for socioeconomic and racial justice for these communities.

Alicia Benis

Communications Intern

Alicia is a sophomore at Barnard College studying American Studies and Race and Ethnic Studies. She is interested in intersectionality, and how movements, such as the movement for a more sustainable fashion industry, are (or are not) intersectional and inclusive. She is also interested in advocating for immigrants, especially immigrant women and women of color, as well as for socioeconomic and racial justice for these communities.

Sydney Long    Intern   Sydney is a sophomore at New York Institute of Technology studying Computer Science and Graphic Design. Coming from a immigrant mother, she strongly stands behind the mission of Custom Collaborative. She is interested in sustainable fashion and hopes to merge her technological skills with fashion as a career.

Sydney Long

Intern

Sydney is a sophomore at New York Institute of Technology studying Computer Science and Graphic Design. Coming from a immigrant mother, she strongly stands behind the mission of Custom Collaborative. She is interested in sustainable fashion and hopes to merge her technological skills with fashion as a career.