Elizabeth Roth: Bringing Ethical Fashion from Berlin to Buffalo

UB student in Berlin, Germany.

Elizabeth Roth, a sophomore who happens to be part of our living-learning community, has come full circle with utilizing the ELN to find the perfect opportunities for her goals and interests.

Through the ELN, she found a winter study abroad program run by one of our faculty fellows, Prof. Jody Kleinberg Biehl. Elizabeth says she picked this program because she saw it as an opportunity to “actually learn something a little different and do something more unique than just go to college in a different country.” The program focused on journalism in Berlin and had students investigate and ultimately write about topics that interested them.

Elizabeth came to the program with an interest in fashion, so Prof. Biehl connected her to some companies and events that centered on ethical fashion, and Elizabeth became hooked. “I didn’t even know it was a thing! I’ve always been interested in fashion…and then [Jody] told me about a store called Ecoalf, and they are totally ecofriendly on every plane.” Through a little more research, Elizabeth discovered the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin and its venue, the Greenshowroom, where she was able to interview tons of vendors on why ethical fashion was important to them and where they saw the industry going. “Everyone has so much to say about the topic. I went [to Berlin] wanting to do something with fashion, and I was able to find this niche group that was perfect for it.”

Of course, when Elizabeth came back from her pivotal experience in Berlin, she wanted to spread the word about ethical fashion but didn’t know if there was anyone on campus who would be interested and want to help. She talked to Christina Heath, assistant director of the ELN, who put her in contact with Erin Moscati in UB Sustainability, who in turn connected her to the president of the Environmental Network, a student club on campus. Elizabeth has now presented to the club in an effort to raise awareness of eco-friendly fashion, and has even published an article in The Spectrum, “A glimpse into Berlin’s eco fashion scene.”

She has several ideas for getting the campus involved in ethical fashion but realizes that the first step is raising awareness. She thinks it’s odd that eco-friendly things like organic food and solar energy have become popular, “but no one has talked about clothing and the toxins that come out of creating textiles and the poor work conditions. Everything that we want to fix as a culture is in the fashion industry, and nobody’s gone there. People don’t know about it.”

Well, UB’s campus is soon going to know about ethical fashion, if Elizabeth has anything to say about it. With a helping hand from the ELN, she was able to have experiences that transformed her passion for fashion into a greater sustainable vision that may soon be having an impact on the UB campus.

Follow Elizabeth’s example and come to 17 Norton to leverage the ELN in pursuit of your own interests and goals! Visit our website at buffalo.edu/eln to learn about and take advantage of our many resources.


Written by Amanda Hellwig ‘19