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50. Natalia Allen

Founder, Design Futurist

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At Parsons the New School for Design, Natalia Allen was known as the "black girl building surfboards with computers in them in the fashion department," she recalls. It wasn't necessarily a compliment. But as a senior in 2004, she won the school's coveted Designer of the Year award. Now 27 and still an iconoclast, Allen is working with Best Buy, Nike, and Cambridge University, and helping Pratt Institute develop new business models for a sustainable fashion economy. "Enough with the gimmicks and greenwashing," says Allen, whose own fashion line debuts in fall 2011. "We need to get retailers, manufacturers, and the guys on Wall Street to dream with us in a different way."