Who’s Educating Who? Unpacking Fashion Consumer And Supplier Dynamics

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Who’s Educating Who? Unpacking Fashion Consumer And Supplier Dynamics

Mercado Global and the Young Professionals of the Americas join forces for an evening that weaves sustainability into business strategy and product design, with an industry panel discussion, climate- and socially-conscious fashion and design, and sustainably sourced snacks. 

The recent COVID shock has highlighted the fragility of unsustainable supply chains globally, accelerating a pivotal transformation within the fashion industry as consumers and investors alike demand more from companies on the environmental and social front. Consumers have a plethora of fashion brands to choose from these days which translates to increased buying power and begs the question: What sets brands apart? This panel brings together sustainability experts and industry leaders for an honest assessment of shifting consumer and supplier dynamics as brands are forced to adapt to the ever-changing and highly demanding ESG landscape. 

Mercado Global and YPA members get in free. Tickets will be $15 for non-members.


  • Ruth Álvarez-DeGolia, Founder & CEO, Mercado Global 
  • Dana Davis, VP of Sustainability, Product and Business Strategy, Mara Hoffman 
  • Eric Fisch, Senior Vice President and Sector Head of Retail & Apparel, HSBC Bank 
  • Lauren Kiel, Managing Director, Bloomberg Green (Facilitator) 

Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase Mercado Global products at a discount, participate in a take-one-leave-one clothing rack, and try sustainably-sourced food and beverage samples. 

Brands on site will include: 

Mercado Global Products: Mercado Global’s Upcycled Denim collection was consciously created with the planet in mind. Handcrafted by women artisans in rural Guatemala, this collection utilizes high-quality deadstock denim donated by Levi Strauss & Co, paired together with classic Mercado Global handwoven fabrics. Supporting our goal to reduce waste levels and lower our carbon footprint, this summer-inspired collection gives new life to discarded materials and saves thousands of yards of fabric from the landfill, all while continuing to provide fair income opportunities to our partner artisans. 

Parch: In developing Parch™, we studied ancient beverages, rituals and botanical infusions across Mexico and the Southwestern US, drawing inspiration from traditional plant-based beverages enjoyed as alternatives to alcohol. Our distinctive adult beverages are inspired by the Sonoran Desert and the lush biodiversity it keeps. Each sip offers complex flavors from unique pairings of desert ingredients, based on the ethos that “what grows together, goes together.” Our bespoke blend of active adaptogens were chosen by our naturopathic doctor to work symbiotically with your body’s natural functions. Each can contains 285mg of our custom blend of Ashwagandha, L-Theanine, American Ginseng & GABA. We call this ‘The Parch Effect’. To ensure greatest efficacy, all our adaptogens are sustainably-sourced and GRAS-certified by the FDA. 

Popadelics: Popadelics Crunchy Mushroom Chips are shiitake mushrooms reimagined for the modern superfood snacker that bursts with flavor and packs an addictive crunch! Popadelics is currently available in three mouth-watering, culinary-inspired flavors—Trippin’ Truffle Parm, Twisted Thai Chili, and Rad Rosemary + Salt—and are vegan, gluten-free, OU kosher certified, and Non-GMO Project verified. A portion of all sales also supports the Fun-Gal Snacks Foundation, which supports health and wellness causes. 

Yolélé: Yolélé was founded by Pierre Thiam, a renowned Senegalese chef, cookbook author, global ambassador for African cuisine and culture, and longtime advocate for sustainability and biodiversity. Pierre wanted to bring his native West African culinary roots to a broader audience with fonio: a tiny, quick-cooking, nutritious, gluten-free grain that grows in West Africa and cooks similarly to couscous. This ancient grain is grown exclusively by smallholder family farmers—mainly women—across the Sahel Region in West Africa. 

Learn more about the speakers: 

Ruth Álvarez-DeGolia is Mercado Global’s co-founder and executive director. Álvarez-DeGolia has overseen Mercado Global’s growth from a small non-profit working with a dozen artisans in Guatemala’s highlands to its recognition as an innovator in social enterprise, partnering with hundreds of artisans and a number of major international specialty retail chains and catalogs. Ruth has been recognized for her role in founding and supporting a variety of programs and organizations related to international development and poverty alleviation. She has also received honors for her academic work on the impact of globalization on political and economic development in Latin America, including the William H. Orrick prize at Yale University. In May 2004, she was named among the “World’s Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs” by the Echoing Green Foundation. In July 2006, she was selected as one of the “15 People Who Make America Great” by Newsweek magazine and was featured on the magazine’s cover along with Brad Pitt and Soledad O’Brien of CNN. 

Dana Davis is VP of sustainability, product and business strategy at Mara Hoffman. Davis joined Mara Hoffman in 2010 and successfully centralized and grew the company’s Production and Design Departments, secured partnerships with facilities around the world, and was integral in the company’s transformation into the recognizable and widely distributed brand that it is today. In 2015, Davis spearheaded the company’s transition towards sustainability, focusing on increased and innovative responsible manufacturing as well as supply chain evaluation, and now sits as the company’s VP of Sustainability, Product and Business Strategy. As a board member of Custom Collaborative and an advisor for Nest, Thr3fold, and the New York Workforce Development Coalition, Davis is also engaged with industry organizations and educators, such as Textile Exchange and the CFDA. Dana is a keen enthusiast of regenerative farming and spends her personal time gardening and landscaping with her husband George and their two children Penelope and Phoenix. 

Eric Fisch is senior vice president and national sector head of retail and apparel, corporate banking, for HSBC Bank USA, N.A., a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC), one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations. In this role, he oversees business development and commercial banking services for retail and apparel companies nationally. A veteran retail and apparel financier, Eric Fisch has been with HSBC Bank USA NA since 2003. Originally based in New York, Eric moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to develop HSBC’s West Coast presence in the apparel industry. Eric helped propel HSBC’s LA middle market lending team from a start-up to a significant contributor, building out a very sizable apparel financing business, before moving back to New York in 2022. Eric is a frequent contributor to media discourse on the Retail sector, participating in reports on NPR’s Marketplace as well as articles in Business of Fashion, California Apparel News, and other industry publications. Eric serves on the Board of Directors of the Fashion Institute of Technology Foundation. He also serves on the Executive Council of GlamourGals Foundation. Eric is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, holding a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Politics. He lives in New York with his wife and three children.

Not a member yet? Join YPA today for access to this event and our networking and social events, such as private art fair tours, concerts, and intimate talks with industry leaders around professional development.

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