Ethical Fashion

The NEXUS Lab on Ethical Fashion was born from the desire to challenge the waste and abuses of the fashion industry and to educate and connect leaders who are creating a new ethical fashion paradigm.

The NEXUS Lab on Ethical Fashion launched in 2016 with the goal of catalyzing awareness and creating positive impact in the fashion industry. Driven by NEXUS members committed to bringing about change in various segments of the fashion industry, the Ethical Fashion Lab will explore the vital role ethical fashion can play in the global economy and what consumers, innovators and designers can do to rethink fashion’s role in the world. The Lab on Ethical Fashion is led by Co-Chairs Christian Birky and Steph Cordes.



Ethical Fashion is an umbrella term for clothing and accessories that positively impact the environment and/or human rights. This includes fashion that is organic, vegan, uses eco-friendly practices or materials, is made locally, empowers women and artisans, protects cultures and indigenous people and upholds the principles of Free Trade. Through fashion’s unique reach and scale, ethical fashion can play a role in helping bring about 15 of the 17 UN Millenial Goals.

Mission Statement

The NEXUS Lab on Ethical Fashion will be a platform for our community to explore and collaborate on forward thinking ideas revolutionizing the business of fashion through sustainable innovations. Fashion’s global scale deeply affects the environment, our health, labor rights and cultural issues influencing industries across the globe from agriculture to pop culture to real estate. The Lab on Ethical Fashion will explore its vital role in the global economy and what consumers, innovators, and designers can do to use fashion to further the change that the NEXUS community has come together to create.

Our goal is to educate you as consumers, empower designers and companies and spark collaborations through in the exciting innovations and breakthroughs in ethical fashion.

The Lab on Ethical Fashion will serve as forum for members of the NEXUS network who seek to learn more about sustainability in fashion, exchange ideas and make connections through events or information!


Christian Birky

Christian Birky

NEXUS Ethical Fashion Lab Co-Chair
Christian Birky is the founder of Lazlo, a luxury menswear brand that fuses sustainable innovation with traditional skills and materials. Christian started Lazlo after graduating from Princeton in 2013, where a stint tutoring at a prison led to a thesis on prison policy. Based in Detroit, he is working to create training programs and employment opportunities for returning citizens. Christian has a background in social innovation spanning from youth-led grantmaking to a pony-powered, emissions-free lawn service he started at age 11. Christian is a co-chair of the NEXUS Ethical Fashion Lab as well as the NEXUS Detroit City Liaison.
Steph Cordes

Steph Cordes

NEXUS Ethical Fashion Lab Co-Chair
Steph Cordes is Vice Chair of the Cordes Foundation, working to advance the Foundation’s ethical fashion and sustainable supply chain initiatives. Prior to joining the Foundation, Steph held positions at Conde Nast and luxury fashion brands Alberta Ferretti and Maiyet. She serves on the Board of Directors for Indego Africa, an innovative social enterprise that lifts artisans and their families out of poverty, and the Advisory Board for Soko, a Kenyan-based ethical fashion brand. Steph is an active member of the Milken Institute Young Leaders Circle and the NEXUS Impact Investing Steering Committee and Ethical Fashion Lab.


  • Salon discussion series around innovation and impact in the ethical fashion space
  • NEXUS sustainable fashion discussion forums
  • Discounts to sustainable fashion conferences and networking events and speaking opportunities for its members
  • Meetings/calls with leading brands and designers committed to ethical practices
  • Regularly send our members articles, reports and relevant information related to ethical fashion


The NEXUS Ethical Fashion Lab Impact Investing White Paper
David Dietz from The NEXUS Ethical Fashion Lab teamed up with Sarah Berner, a board member at Gratitude Railroad, to write a white paper on the future of fashion, “Fashion Is Old Fashioned.” The report describes the current state of the fashion industry, details the new trends emerging in sustainability and highlights promising companies and brands committed to social and environmental. With game-changing materials, recycling and design solutions that are moving the industry in a more positive direction on the horizon, this is a go-to guide for anyone interested in learning more about investing in Ethical Fashion.

Investing in Sustainable Fashion_high res

Upcoming Events:

To see what Salons, Delegations and other events are upcoming, please reach out. Most Ethical Fashion Lab events are limited to members only. Not a member? Membership is based on your application, acceptance and attendance to a multi-day event. Click here to see our next upcoming Summits.

Get in Touch with ETHICAL FASHION

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