40 Next: Natalia Allen

In celebration of Black Enterprise's 40th Anniversary, we recognize African Americans, ages 21-35, who are changing the world of business

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, Black Enterprise is taking a look both forward and backward at the world of black business. Our list of 40 Next celebrates the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

These BE Nexters—those 21–35 years old making a measurable impact within their respective business, organization, industry, or field—are standouts in the areas of entrepreneurship, corporate America, academia, nonprofit, the arts, and the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). And they prove every day that “business as usual” is not so usual. For them, leveraging expertise in one area to maximize an opportunity in another is standard operating procedure.

Using the legacy of their business predecessors to forge their own way, this new generation of leadership accepts the torch without trepidation. But the commonality between then and now is that success still takes a focused, strategic, and passionate mindset. Here, we introduce you to one of our 40 Next.

Natalia Allen, 27
Founder/Chief Creative Director
Design Futurist, New York

Allen’s green fashion accessories and textiles are giving the world an eco-style makeover. Global companies such as Dupont, Calvin Klein, Quiksilver, and Donna Karan have called on Design Futurist, a product design consultancy founded in 2005, to create, design, and produce environmentally friendly materials by using non-toxic methods of production. “Sustainable fashion is not a trend,” says Allen, who also gives lectures and offers workshops to organizations and businesses worldwide about sustainable practices and opportunities in fashion. “Any company that wants to be relevant in 10 years needs to grab hold of the idea of innovation and sustainability as core business practices and realize it’s not a do-good exercise. It is a business opportunity.”

Be sure to pick up the commemorative 40th anniversary August 2010 issue of Black Enterprise, which contains the entire 40 Next list.

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