Céline Semaan has, for the past twenty years of her life, applied design, sociology, material science & accessibility in order to address compounding existential crises such as climate change and human injustices.
As an award-winning equity climate designer, she is the co-founder of Slow Factory where her work is focused on creating regenerative and reciprical systemic change.
As an artist, her work has been acquired and displayed in national museums de Young, MoMA and Cooper Hewitt.
As a writer, her first book “A Woman is a School” is published with Astra Publishing. She has written many essays, op-eds, and articles for publications including The Cut, Vogue, Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue, as well as white papers and reports with Slow Factory.
As an educator, her classes, curriculum and methodologies have been the precursor to applied climate-justice in academia and for various sectors including the fashion industry, waste industries, material science as well as through the Open Education platform she has championed.
As a public speaker represented by CAA.
“Colonialism is not a thing of the past, it’s an economic reality.” — Understanding Sustainability Means Talking About Colonialism, The Cut
“We are encouraging designers to use waste as a material,” she said. But she said she saw opportunity in other models, like design for disassembly, which involves breaking down unsold clothing to make new garments rather than burning them. Forcing the industry to use what it has, said Ms. Semaan, would give farming and fossil fuels a break. — The New York Times
Landfills as Musuems, created by Slow Factory in collaboration with Waste Management, takes designers and stakeholders to the landfill followed by a waste-led design workshop.
Slowhide, the latest material from Slow Factory Labs is a lab-grown, vertically farmed leather alternative growing from tea and coffee waste.
Slow Factory Labs re-envisions and re-designs regenerative systems which are good for the Earth, good for the People. Slowhide has been awarded a Fast Company Innovation by design award.
Climate Equity & Human Rights
Céline is a Lebanese-Canadian designer, writer, speaker, and advocate working at the intersection of environmental and social justice. She speaks four languages, is a designer, writer, educator, strategist and mother.
Céline is the founder of Slow Factory, a 501c3 public service organization addressing the intersecting crises of climate justice and social inequity — filling the gap for climate adaptation and preparedness, building community power through open education, narrative change and regenerative design. As a part of this work, Slow Factory produces a conference series promoting sustainability literacy called Study Hall, the first science-driven incubator in fashion called One X One, and a range of other offerings.
Her works has received many awards: Slow Factory’s Open Edu has received an award from Harvard for innovation in education; Slow Factory Labs has been awarded a Fast Company Innovation by design award, funding from the JLL Foundation, and has been a finalist in many global design and innovation competitions.
Recently, Céline is building a climate institute focused on designing solutions addressing pollution reduction and accessible climate education. The Slow Factory Institute opens its doors in Fall 2023.
An advocate in a range of fields, Céline is on the Council of Progressive International, has been a Director’s Fellow of MIT Media Lab, and served on the Board of Directors of AIGA NY, a nonprofit membership organization that helps cultivate the future of design in New York City.
Céline writes for New York Mag: The Cut, Elle, Refinery29, Huffington Post, among other publications. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, Vogue, Refinery29, Scientific American, Fast Company, Teen Vogue and many other outlets.
Céline lives in New York City.
Céline has conceptualized & created the following projects:
Céline is currently writing a memoire: A Woman is a School, Astra Publishing
Céline has coined the term Fashion Activism.
The Cut, In her shoes: Céline Semaan & Fashion Activism
W Magazine, How Céline Semaan Evolved Slow Factory Into a Hub for Digital Advocacy
Interview Magazine, “Now I Give a Fuck”: SZA Talks to Céline Semaan About Spirituality and Sustainability
Time Sensitive, Céline Semaan on Why Slowing Down Is Essential for Our Collective Survival
Vogue, “Fashion Creates Culture, and Culture Creates Action”: Céline Semaan on the Industry’s Role in Times of Crisis
New York Times, Refugee Designer Shines a Light on Global Issues
Highsnobiety, 10 Things Slow Factory Taught Us About Sustainable Fashion
Vice, How Fashion Is a Refuge for Displaced Syrian Women
Art Net, Right-Wing Groups Have Made an Uneasy Alliance With Feminists to Blast This Show of Muslim Fashions
New York Times, How to Buy Clothes That Are Built to Last
Teen Vogue, Meet Teen Vogue’s First-Ever Class of 2022 Generation Next Innovators
Forbes, Climate Advocates Céline Semaan And Sophia Li Are Launching The First Sustainability Talk Show
Fashionista, A New Program Aims to Address Sustainability Education Gaps in Fashion
Harper’s Bazaar, Céline Semaan and Sophia Li’s New Show Reminds Us Not All Hope Is Lost in Fighting Climate Change
Artsy, Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Forbes, How Web 3.0 And Evolving Consumer Psychographics Will Change The Brand Relationship
Harper’s Bazaar, Investing in Lebanese Brands Preserves Beirut’s Culture
The Cut, A Busload of Fashion People Go to the Landfill
Coveteur, How Open Education Wants to Change the Fashion Industry
MIT Sloan, How to source, support, and scale grassroots climate solutions
Slow Factory Teams With Adidas And Stella McCartney On Paid Apprenticeships With Free Online BIPOC Course
Teen Vogue, Slow Factory’s Collection Is a Direct Shot at Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban
Fast Company, The rise of sustainable design—and where it’s headed next
New York Times, New MoMA PS1 Director Leans Into Social Justice and Reaches Out to Long Island City
i-D Magazine, This museum exhibition spotlights diversity in Muslim fashion
Fast Company Innovation by Design, How businesses learned to embrace sustainable design—and where it’s headed next
To book Céline for a speaking engagement contact CAA:
Videos of Céline speaking:
New York Times: Climate Forward
Corporate speaking include:
Fashion Institute of Technology
MIT Media Lab