For our Fall semester, we invited 5 highly accomplished young people to create self-designed sustainability projects under the guidance of our leadership. With a 0.4% acceptance rate, we are delighted to include a student from the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) as we launch our new partnership. The successful candidates reflect the diversity and exacting standards of Unbuilt Labs.
David Leys and Matthew Porter are on the research track. David is studying trade, customs, incentives, and certifications in sustainable fashion. Matthew is analyzing consumer trends and branding strategies.
Ruoyao Chen, Madison Daniels, and Kathy Kim are on the operations track. Ruoyao is exploring how cutting-edge science can be applied to sustainable fashion. Madison is working with artists to promote sustainable fashion and exploring how the company can engage with the circular economy. Kathy is creating documentaries to explore the lives of Unbuilt Labs’ affiliated artists.
We will be sharing their work on our site and on social media. We invite subject matter specialists and interested parties to review their findings and join the conversation. Please reach out to Connect@UnbuiltLabs.com.
David Leys, Winter Policy Analyst
David is a qualified lawyer of the Brussels Bar and an applicant for California as well as New York Bars. With experience at Sidley Austin LLP, the European Commission, and the Embassy of Belgium in Tokyo, he brings an international perspective towards trade, competition and intellectual property.
Having twice attended the Marché du Film at the Festival of Cannes, David has considerable experience in licensing, partnerships and NDAs for SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors. He has recovered up to 200,000 USD for SMEs by pleading before trial and appeal courts in commercial and IP laws.
David’s other notable projects, which include dealing with an EU merger for Fortune 500 company and conducting due diligence for an IPO reflect his interest in new technologies, energy, and the Arts. He has advised and represented governments, Fortune Global 500 companies, and associations on international trade and agro-food matters.
He is extending his previous experience in trade law in the solar panel, clothing, and food industries at Unbuilt Labs, where he will be conducting legal and policy research on sustainable fashion.
His articles on diplomatic protection, trade and customs law consequences of Brexit, and trademark royalties in customs, were published in the Harvard International Law Journal Online and the Global Trade and Customs Journal.
- Columbia Law School, New York City, Master in Laws (LL.M.) ‘20
- College of Europe, Bruges, Master in European Law (LL.M.) ‘12
- Université Catholique de Louvain, Master in Law (J.D. equivalent) ‘11
- Université Saint-Louis, Brussels, Bachelor in Law ‘09
Kathy Kim, Marketing and Media Intern
Kathy is a South Korean videographer currently living in New York. Her most recent project was a documentary about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival). The video brought a spotlight to the problem of second-generation immigrants who do not have legal security and live under governmental threat of deportation. Kathy undertook the research and development before directing, filming, and producing the video. Her interviews with DACA recipients make the work compelling and meaningful. At Unbuilt Labs, she will create documentaries to explore the lives of Unbuilt Labs’ affiliated artists. She will also work on driving sustainability messages through social media.
- Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), A.S. in Video Arts and Technology ‘21
Madison Daniels, Product Development Intern
Madison is a sustainable fashion professional with 3+ years of experience in the industry. Through her work with brands and consultancies, she has developed her knowledge in business development, trend research, styling, and sales. She has attended multiple fashion weeks and market weeks while working with brands such as Alice + Olivia and Staud. She also worked on the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show in 2016 as part of the in-house team. She has previously been a member of the fashion press in Singapore and attended PR and brand events as a press representative of Liv Magazine.
Madison is currently a MS student in Sustainability Management at Columbia University, and she recently graduated from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies where her focus was the historical context of the fashion industry and how that history can be used to inform and shape solutions to the industries environmental and social issues. While at New York University, she managed a 50-person dance company with her fellow students and choreographed several pieces of movement for their bi-annual showcase performances. At Unbuilt Labs, she will be looking into working with artists to promote sustainable fashion and exploring how the company can engage with the circular economy.
- Columbia University, MS in Sustainability Management ‘21
- New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Studies, BA in Individualized Studies ‘20
Matthew Porter, Sustainability Research Intern
Matt Porter, is an educator, design researcher, and sociocultural anthropologist with an emphasis on fashion theory, epistemologies of dominance, and the US military. His approach maps critical theory onto strategies of design and material production. Currently, his works-in-progress include inquiry into the socio-legal implications of political fashion and prototyping models aimed at reconstituting US garment manufacturing. At Unbuilt Labs, Matt will be investigating consumer sentiment and receptivity to sustainable business schemas and how fashion brands can meet consumer demands with ethical yet effective business models.
- UC Irvine, PhD. in Anthropology (expected 2025)
- Parsons School of Design, MA in Fashion Studies, 2019
- University of North Texas, BA in Fashion Design, 2016
Ruoyao Chen, Product Development Intern
Ruoyao is a PhD candidate in molecular and cellular biology who focuses on cancer cell death mechanisms. She has authored/co-authored scientific publications in Nature Cancer, Cell Cycle, Cell Reports, and Journal of Materials Chemistry B. She was previously a Global Scholar at Prescouter, where she advised a NASDAQ-listed US biotech company on navigating clinical trial regulations. She has also been a weekly volunteer at St. John’s Bread and Life as well as Homes for the Homeless to help underprivileged people with legal documentations and career development. At Unbuilt Labs, she will be exploring how cutting-edge science can be applied to sustainable fashion.
- Cornell University, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology ‘21
- St. John’s University, New York, BS in Biology ‘14