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Sr. Director, Material Strategy & Innovation, Sustainability


New York City, NY, US

At Coach, we believe better-made things can help create a better-made future—and this starts with the materials we use in our products. Though we’ve always prided ourselves on using high quality materials and designing product crafted to last, we know we must go further and build a more circular future for fashion. With this responsibility in mind, we are launching a new initiative focused on circularity with an innovative business model that reimagines product “end of life” and Coach’s impact on the environment. 

The Director, Material Strategy and Innovation will develop and implement the short and long-term material strategy for this initiative—including identifying and developing innovative new sustainable materials, building a strategic R&D roadmap including business cases for investment, partnering with the Tapestry and Coach sustainability teams to quantify the impact of new materials on product carbon footprint, driving an agile test and learn approach to material innovation, and collaborating closely with design, merchandising, supply chain and business teams as well as with external partners to develop and commercialize materials that meet the needs of the overall initiative. This role reports to the Senior Director, Operations & Project Management and functionally to the Senior Director, Global Materials Development, Footwear. 

The successful individual will leverage their proficiency in material development, sourcing sustainable materials and product development to...


  • Lead initiative material development and innovation strategies across all categories with a focus on Leather Goods, Footwear and Ready to Wear
  • Research and maintain keen understanding of broader industry best practices and emerging technologies and developments related to sustainable materials
  • Identify and prioritize short-, medium- and long-term sustainable material innovation opportunities—and assess priority based on relevance to initiative and brand, consumer needs, commercial business opportunity and scalable environmental and industry impact
  • Partner with sustainability teams to ensure rigorous circular product standards are met and exceeded and to continually reduce carbon footprint of product collections
  • Continually identify and engage emerging companies/potential partners and suppliers
  • Drive ambitious timelines around development and introduction of new sustainable materials; ensure all material development deadlines and launch timelines are met
  • Assess and define holistic material impacts, such as full lifecycle impacts of materials from cradle to grave
  • Research and implement solutions to maximize circularity potential of materials and to drive towards a zero-waste aspiration
  • Create robust business cases to support R&D investment in specific new materials and engage leadership and cross-functional partners to drive alignment
  • Collaborate closely with project team, global partners and external suppliers to introduce new materials, technologies, and alternative construction methods for appropriate categories.
  • Identify and oversee appropriate testing requirements.
  • Partner with industry associations, Tapestry and Coach sustainability teams, and certification groups to influence and drive company and industry material standards and certifications.
  • Continually scan and assess competitive and consumer landscape to develop future-forward strategies around emerging materials
  • Work in agile methodology with a focus on empowered, self-organizing teams, an iterative approach that allows for rapid experimentation with continuous feedback loops in short time-boxed sprints, and mindful adaptiveness to change
  • “Thinking outside the box” breaking from traditional supply chain practices when needed and demonstrating ability to challenge the status quo and drive a cradle-to-cradle circular mindset



The accomplished individual will possess...


  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Minimum 8-10 years work experience in accessories, apparel, footwear or adjacent consumer goods industry
  • 5+ years professional expertise in material sourcing/development and product development 
  • Track record of successfully developing and bringing to market sustainable materials, ideally in retail or consumer products industries
  • Understanding of product and material sustainability issues; knowledge of specific certification and traceability within the apparel, accessories, and footwear industry a plus.
  • Sharp business acumen, strategic thinking, and analytical skills; proven ability to deliver on program KPIs and ROI goals
  • Strong project management and organization skills with ability to prioritize time and tasks and solve problems/remove obstacles to drive execution
  • Demonstrated ability to leverage real-time customer insight and analysis to drive customer-centric outcomes/innovation
  • Clear communication skills and the ability break complex topics into easy-to-understand and actionable pieces of information across all levels of the business
  • Strong self-starter with action-oriented drive; excels in fast-paced, start-up type environments
  • Passionate about sustainability with understanding of circular business models
  • Ability to collaborate with diverse stakeholder groups across geographies and cultures
  • Working knowledge of data visualization tools

Tapestry, Inc. is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer and we pride ourselves on hiring and developing the best people. All employment decisions (including recruitment, hiring, promotion, compensation, transfer, training, discipline and termination) are based on the applicant’s or employee’s qualifications as they relate to the requirements of the position under consideration. These decisions are made without regard to age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic characteristics, race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, national origin, alienage, citizenship, disability, marital status, military status, pregnancy, or any other legally-recognized protected basis prohibited by applicable law. Visit Tapestry, Inc. at

Req ID:  97923

Nearest Major Market: Manhattan
Nearest Secondary Market: New York City

Job Segment: Supply Chain, Fashion Merchandising, Supply, Garment, Apparel, Operations, Fashion

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