The BF+DA full- and part-time staff works hard to ensure the success of the organization and also collaborates with our Venture Fellows and members to help their companies flourish. Not only is it rewarding to work at an organization making real impact for people and the environment, but we also have a ton of fun together.

To be in touch, please fill out our contact form.


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

Richa Agarwal

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

As a social entrepreneur, this Gandhian principle has guided my work at the intersection of the global apparel industry, education and human development. I have led global teams for various organizations including fashion companies, international NGOs and Foundations. Blending my design + engineering background, as the Managing Director of the BF+DA, I am catalyzing cultural change so business value is measured by a triple-bottom line benefiting all stakeholders.

Amy DuFault

Storytelling will save the world.

As a journalist for the past 20 years, I have written countless stories about people and their passions, drawing inspiration from each and every one. I love a good story. Providing platforms for people to confidently share, shout, and be thoughtful enough to voice their viewpoints is critical to furthering conversations that will move the fashion industry forward. (To move being a human in this world forward.) My role at the BF+DA is to make sure that space for sharing is always available.

  • Communications Director, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator
  • 20+ years in journalism
  • Sustainable Fashion Consultant

Christine Billard

Opportunities to learn, teach others, and experience the world with new eyes each morning is what motivates me. I have a problem-solving mentality that keeps my brain focused not just on societal problems, but more importantly the development of solutions, especially in the realm of public policy. 

As the Space and Program Coordinator at the BF+DA, I support the our community by coordinating internal and external events focused on sustainable education, improving industry standards, and rethinking product consumption.

  • Space and Program Coordinator,  Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator
  • 5+ years in luxury fashion as an artwork designer and patternmaker
  • Garment and textile manufacturing
  • A/V theatre technician for events and classes

Kelly Puertas

From spinning my own yarn to seeing the final product on the runway, I have a deep love and appreciation for the entire life cycle of a knitted garment. I hope to share my passion and knowledge with others to help them transform their designs from sketch to finished product.

With over ten years experience in the fashion industry, I have worn many hats as a manager of sampling and production, senior knitwear tech designer and experienced knitwear designer for men, women and children’s apparel. These experiences helped me achieve complete fluency in sweater construction, yarn composition and stitch structure. At the BF+DA, I analyze and implement design solutions while overseeing the knitwear product development from concept to production. My goal is to educate our designers on cost effective knitting techniques and finishes while maintaining zero waste manufacturing.

  • Knitwear Director, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator
  • Knitwear Sample and Production Manager, Stoll FTNY
  • Senior Knitwear Tech Designer, Stoll FTNY
  • Knitwear Designer/Director for RTW, Contemporary, Better and Mass Market
  • Creator, “Foundation of Shaped Knitwear”
  • Mentor, Start-up designers

Tara St James

I believe that sustainability, transparency, collaboration and disruptive innovation are the keys to growth. This conviction has compelled me to share the knowledge I’ve amassed over the years with the next generation.

My belief that the hands that manipulate the materials we use are just as important as the quality and sustainability of those materials is a driving force in my business and personal life. As a fashion designer with over 15 years experience producing both domestically and overseas, I have developed a vast understanding of a variety of production systems and manufacturing techniques. My role as production coordinator and research fellow is to facilitate designers’ experience through sampling and production.

  • Production Coordinator & Research Fellow | Zero Waste Manufacturing, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator
  • Founder & Creative Director, Study NY
  • Educator in Sustainable Design Certificate, Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Head of Sample Room & New Development, Brooklyn Denim Company
  • Co-Founder & Creative Director, Covet

Carolyn Shafer

Sustainable design is exciting, relevant, challenging and filled with opportunity. It goes far beyond choosing “green materials” and calls for true innovation.

I am creating a new resource center, called the s.Lab, for the BF+DA to integrate Life Cycle Thinking into the design process. My role at the BF+DA is to mentor Venture Fellows around their sustainability mission using my knowledge of Life Cycle Assessment Tools, Sustainable Design Strategies, and Environmental Impacts of various materials.

  • s.LAB Director, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator
  • Director, Center for Sustainable Design Strategies (CSDS) at Pratt Institute
  • Developed CSDS Resource Center
  • Project Manager, CSDS Industry and Research projects
  • Coordinator, annual Sustainability Crash Course
  • Master in Industrial Design
  • BS in Engineering Science (Mechanical)

Aaron Trocola

Exploring and innovating 3D Design in the context of the body with an interdisciplinary approach.

Aaron is an industrial designer specializing in 3D design for additive manufacturing and other digital fabrication processes, particularly design informed by 3D scan data. He sees the seamless integration of these approaches as creating a doorway into and out of the digital world.

  • Founder, ThreeForm
  • 20 years in 3D modeling for animation, product design, and wearable technology
  • Expertise in 3D scanning, metrology, and reverse-engineering to design from real-world data
  • Currently teaching 3D design for additive manufacturing to Mechanical engineer at the University of Bridgeport, as well as through independent workshops since 2012
  • Worked as part of a team creating the first desktop volumetric display for a DARPA funded surgical simulation system.
  • Recently worked with OpenBCI to create an open-source 3D printed brain-computer interface headset (the “Ultracortex”)
  • Participated in and/or organized most of the 3D Printing fashion shows around the US since 2012, Including Rapid 2012, 3D PrintShow 2014, Inside 3D Printing Conference 2015, Silicon Valley Fashion week 2015 and 2016, and Future Fashion 2018 at the World Maker Faire NYC.

Samanta Cortes

Understanding the process of manufacturing is what separates a designer from an artist.

Of the 25 years I have spent in the fashion industry, 20 years has been spent in the embroidery world taking machines to the extreme. My deepest passion has been stabilizing and growing manufacturing in the U.S. by educating my community and understanding the manufacturing equipment that will impact our future generations.