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Fashion Designer to Speak on Sustainability and Business Practices, Nov. 15

Posted Nov. 7, 2011

Fashion designer Sarah Van Aken will give a lecture and presentation at Kent State University on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 6:30 p.m. in Rockwell Auditorium. This lecture, which is free and open to the public, covers a variety of themes including sustainability, business, entrepreneur activities, community advancement and corporate responsibility. Van Aken will discuss the relationship between sustainability and business and how it has affected her career. 

Van Aken is the chief executive officer and founder of S.V.A. Holdings Corporation, a vertically integrated, private label apparel business focused on sustainability located in Philadelphia.

Her educational background in design, apparel and business management helped Van Aken found her company in 2005. As the industry, economy and her life changed in 2008, Van Aken began to envision a new type of apparel company: one that was socially responsible. She considers all aspects of sustainability, including how and by whom garments are made, what they are made with, carbon footprint reduction, considered design, and community impact.

Van Aken’s company is now comprised of four private apparel brands: Van Aken custom shirts, Van Aken Signature custom hospitality uniforms, Van Aken Private Label garment manufacturing services and Van Aken women’s ready-to-wear. Each of the company’s brands integrates high design aesthetic and quality construction with socially responsible business practices and community building through local job creation, sustainable and recycled raw materials, community partnerships and garments produced in the Philadelphia Garment Center.  

Through S.V.A. Holdings Corporation, Van Aken continues to further her mission to build the most socially sustainable apparel business in the United States.

Van Aken resides in Philadelphia. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Delaware and has a background in garment sourcing and production. She is currently a Designer Critic for Kent State University and Philadelphia University. Van Aken has recently been awarded the “Community Impact Award” from the Women’s Opportunity Resource Center.

She will be in town to evaluate students’ work in the Fashion School at Kent State on Nov. 16-18. Van Aken is one of the critics who will lend their expert opinions to students' patterns, concepts and paper designs, along with John Patrick of the ORGANIC line. This process is in preparation for next semester’s fashion show, which will only feature a pre-determined number of students’ work. These critiques help decide which students will participate.

For more information, contact Kent State’s Fashion School at 330-672-3010 or

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Media Contacts:
Effie Tsengas,, 330-672-8398 
Noel Palomo-Lovinski,, 330-672-0137
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595