Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hey, friends! It's Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on changemaking leaders making the world a more equitable place! I have another great interview for you this week. Today, I’m excited to cruise around with Vanessa Barboni Hallik, the founder and CEO of Another Tomorrow. Let’s learn what’s happening at Another Tomorrow and how Vanessa is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Vanessa! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your organization?
Vanessa: Glad to be with you, Spiffy! Another Tomorrow is modeling a new vision for the fashion industry. Fashion is one of the most damaging industries on the planet from its contribution to climate change given its emissions (the third worst) to the over 80% of clothing that ends up in a landfill, to human exploitation and the degradation of the environment, and biodiversity loss due to use of chemicals and pesticides.
Spiffy: Saving the planet in a fashionable way—très chic! What motivates you to tackle this challenge?
Vanessa: My early career was in finance, focused on emerging markets for 15 years. However, I have always had a deep desire to align my work with building businesses that would model a new future in alignment with the planet and with empathy for living beings. When I took a sabbatical from my job in late 2017, I allowed myself to spend the time exploring how and why the major industries in the world were exhibiting major negative externalities (i.e. major unintended negative consequences that impact others), and I was both fascinated and disturbed by what I learned about fashion. I could not unknow what I learned and became passionate about becoming a part of the solution to a huge and urgent problem for our planet.
Spiffy: Your desire for planetary change is admirable. How else would you describe the impact of your work?
Vanessa: Another Tomorrow demonstrates that fashion can operate in harmony with the Earth and its inhabitants' needs with the goal of leading others to adopt similar practices. This includes our development of "farm-to-closet" supply chains and the traceability we offer for every item we have ever made. We also have our own Authenticated Resale model, which keeps our high quality products in circulation for many lifetimes so that people can purchase pre-loved rather than new clothing and keep them out of landfills.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone or initiative by you or your organization. What impact does that make?
Vanessa: We recently constructed a new farm-traceable organic cotton supply chain for our denim that will support livelihoods in Uganda and organic cotton farming free of chemical pesticides and insecticides to support biodiversity. The textiles are made with very little water and responsible dyeing. The end product will be manufactured by skilled workers who are paid a living wage. This entire supply chain from start to finish supports biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, dignified work, and clean water.
Spiffy: Very cool! Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Vanessa: In addition to our own work, we believe government and policy change matters to ensure that the rules change to enforce better behavior by all companies. We want to work closely with lawmakers on new legislation. I encourage everyone to share with your political representatives and the companies that you or your family buy products from that you care that the fashion industry supports the environment, dignified work, and animal welfare.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Vanessa—it’s been an honor!
Vanessa Barboni Hallik is the founder and CEO of Another Tomorrow, a B-Corp Certified sustainable fashion company. Their fully digitized products deliver technology-enabled transparency and authenticated resale. Vanessa is also an investor in early-stage companies with strong ESG commitments. Vanessa has been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, Bloomberg, Forbes, and Vogue for her work. (Nominated by Alex Dehgan of Una Terra Venture Capital Fund. First published on the Ladderworks website on April 28, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Lindsey Brannon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.