Debera Johnson

The opportunity to help, learn, share or create community puts me into action and I have spent my life as a serial academic-entrepreneur-designer.

Success is defined by three criteria: have I created a replicable model for change, has it been powered by collaboration, and does it align with my core values. My role at the BF+DA is to nurture our relationships with strategic partners and bring critical knowledge and resources to the team and our fellows, members, students, mentors and masterminds. My purpose is to ensure that the BF+DA becomes a viable and vital community.

  • Founder, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator
  • Founder, Partnership for Academic Leadership in Sustainability
  • Founder, Center for Sustainable Design Strategies (CSDS)
  • Founder, Pratt Design Incubator
  • Chair, Pratt Industrial Design Department

Eric Henry

Eric Henry, president of TS Designs, is one-half of the dynamic duo that owns TSD. Alongside his business partner and TSD CEO, Tom Sineath, Eric has been in the screen printing and apparel business for over 30 years. Eric’s duties at TSD range from sales to R&D to marketing. He is the foremost public face of TSD, attending numerous trade shows, giving speeches to groups and universities and hosting tours of the TSD facility. His boundless enthusiasm and energy have gained him a certain level of notoriety at most of them, even winning him the Sustainability Champion award from Sustainable North Carolina in 2009.

Outside of TS Designs, Eric devotes much of his time to furthering the sustainable agenda in various community organizations. He founded the Burlington Biodiesel Co-op in 2001 and has run his car on biodiesel (or straight vegetable oil) that now has over 250k miles on it. He along with Charlie Sydnor and Sam Moore founded Company Shops Market, a co-op grocery in downtown Burlington that reconnects local agriculture to Alamance County; and now, he serves the co-op board. He also serves on the Burlington Downtown Corporation board, which works to create an environment for development that enhances Downtown Burlington as the cultural, historic, social and economic center of the community. He also serves on the board of NC GreenPower, an organization that purchases and resells renewable energy, and Green America.

He has served on the board of Alamance County Chamber of Commerce, Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (he was the chairman in 2002), and Elon University Environmental Science and Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. His most recent start-up is the Burlington Beer Works Co-op, which will build on the success of Company Shops Co-op.

Eric was born in Radford, Virginia. When he was 3, he moved to Burlington, NC, where he has lived for most of his life since. He attended NC State University for 2 years to study agriculture, then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study economics. While at UNC-CH, Eric founded Creative Screen Designs, a screen printing operation dedicated to the college market. Before the start of his senior year at Chapel Hill, Eric left school to join Tom Sineath as co-owner of TS Designs, Inc. He completed an online permaculture class at NC State University in 2011 taught by his friend and mentor, Will Hooker.

Eric and his wife Lisa recently purchased a small farm in southern Alamance County, moving from their home of 26 years in downtown Burlington. Lisa wanted to be closer to her horses and Eric wanted to get closer to the dirt. Their plan is to convert the 20 year old home on the property to a “net zero” energy home and in the last two years have installed a geothermal system, 4.3 kHw solar array and a wood stove insert. Working with Will Hooker, who helped develop a Permaculutre plan for the 12 acres, they have already planted over 200 trees on the property. They’ve also expanded the vegetable garden and added chickens.

Quote: “I want to push the window of sustainability in order to change the direction of the American society.”

Sophia Hyder

Sophia Hyder is the Founder/CEO of Papilla, a personalized travel app that provides efficient packing guidance which integrates cultural nuances tailored for your trip. Sophia is responsible for guiding the vision of the app from ideation to development. Her love for travel and culture has inspired her previous endeavors; In 2012, Sophia founded Evolvemint, a traveler-inspired social luxury brand after working in the international development industry for over 10 years. She has travelled to over 25 countries and will continue to travel and advocate for sustainable practices in fashion throughout her lifetime. 

Catherine Fain

Having grown up in Raleigh, North Carolina, Catherine headed to the bright lights, big city that is Clemson, South Carolina for college and then on to the University of South Carolina in Columbia for a Masters of Retail degree. She spent several years in the retail industry around the South before returning to Raleigh. Now, planted firmly back in North Carolina, Catherine is a freelance public relations consultant, the editor of a style blog called Southern Arrondissement and the designer of Ramey Rhodes, a small women’s clothing produced right here in the South. Catherine is an ardent lover of fashion and design, and is a passionate supporter of the “Creative South”.

Minyoung Suh

Dr. Minyoung Suh is currently an assistant professor at the College of Textiles, North Carolina State University. She has extensive research and education experiences related to functional clothing and its production. With an emphasis on technical aspects of clothing, she has developed the multidisciplinary research program throughout her career path in Kansas State University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Yonsei University. The primary research stream deals with functional clothing, including but not limited to smart clothing, sportswear, foundation garment and intimate apparel. Utilizing advanced technologies such as 3D body scanner, motion capture system, pressure sensor, and conductive printing, her research focuses on innovative apparel product development.

Cynelsa Broderick

Cynelsa Broderick is the Education and Outreach Coordinator in the NC State University Sustainability Office. She serves there as an Americorps Member in the Project GEOS (Growing Environmental Opportunities through Service) Program and her role involves bridging sustainability and diversity through events and cultural programming on campus that provide environmental education training and connect resources to underserved populations. She is also a Visual Artist and Illustrator; and teaches art lessons at Time For Art Kids in Cary. A graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in Environmental Engineering and a passion for the arts, she is very interested in the innovation involved in connecting eco- and fashion.

Dr. Jesse Jur

Dr. Jesse Jur is an Assistant Professor of Textile Engineering, Chemistry & Science at NC State University's College of Textiles. He received his Ph.D .in Materials Science and Engineering from N.C. State and has spent the last 12+ years researching primarily at the nanoscale, including experiences in the semiconductor and opto-electronics industries. His research focuses understanding how wearable systems can be design to improve on their potential in creative platforms for energy harvesting and monitoring of a person's environmental and physiological state.  He instructs courses on e-textiles materials design as well as industry-driven product development.  He is passionate about creativity and action!