Fashion and Leadership

April 13, 2015 by Joshua
in Events, Leadership

You’re invited to an event on fashion and leadership I’m helping organize next month in New York City. My friends and incredibly dynamic speakers Coco and Breezy will be panelists.

You’ll be glad you attended.

From the registration page:

Connecting the dots

Today, the fashion world is more global than ever before. Opportunities and competition exist in abundance as geographic and cultural boundaries have disappeared.

Yet, it sometimes seems harder than ever to cross the divide between buying and selling, whether it’s a new manufacturer or an existing retailer.

How does one create a product that makes it into the final customer’s hands? What are buyers looking for when they source their vendors? How should Vendors aim to make themselves appealing? Who are the deciders in the fashion industry and how to approach them?

Come join our event as our diverse panelists explain how to connect the dots. Interact with other manufacturers, designers, buyers and marketers as you learn the ropes of navigating the fashion industry. Join us at Connecting the Dots in order to bridge the gap between the supply and demand. Network among fellow fashion industry participants to take your business to the next level.

  • DATE:  Tuesday, May 12, 2015
  • TIME: 6pm to 6:30pm – Registration & Networking
    6:30pm – 8pm – Panel discussion, audience participation, and networking
  • PLACE: Wells Fargo, 150 E 42nd St. (Between Lexington and 3rd Ave.), Corporate Learning Center, Lower Level
    Government-issued ID is required to enter the building.
  • COST: $35 for CBSAC/NY members (pre-registration required); $45 for non-members (pre-registration required)
    Special offer: Non members may join when purchasing a ticket for this event.  Get a membership with the event ticket option: Enjoy the many benefits of CBSAC/NY Sign up for the event at either the CBS Alum rate of $75 or the non-CBS Alum rate for MBAs of other institutions of $115 and you are automatically a member.


Lewis Hopkins, Vice President, Divisional Merchandise for Women’s Designer Apparel, Saks Fifth Avenue

Lewis Hopkins is the Vice-President, Divisional Merchandise Manager for Women’s Designer Apparel at Saks Fifth Avenue.  As a world-renowned retailer and an international fashion authority, Saks offers its customers the finest assortment of designer apparel, accessories, cosmetics and gifts. For the last 90 years Saks has stood by founding President Adam Gimbel’s original mission to inspire customer confidence and style with every shopping experience.  Lewis joined Saks in 2014 after 21 years with Neiman Marcus as a lead merchant for Women’s Designer Apparel.  Prior to that, Lewis worked for Bergdorf Goodman and Barney’s.

Sapna Shah, Angel Investor, Red Giraffe Advisors

Sapna Shah is an angel investor, start-up advisor, retail expert and entrepreneur. Through Red Giraffe Advisors, Sapna makes angel and early-stage seed investments in start-ups in the retail, fashion and consumer start-ups. Sapna advises start-ups at the Wharton School, NYU Stern and Columbia Business School. Sapna also co-founded and launched a menswear e-commerce retailer, Mind the Chap, and led the Marketing and Web Development areas of the company. Prior to Retail Eye Partners, Sapna was Executive Director of Strategy and Customer Insight at Linens ‘n Things, Inc. Sapna received her B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School, a B.A. in East Asian Studies from the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and her M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

Mary Rynarzewski, Omni Social Dress Buyer, Bloomingdale’s

Mary is currently the Omni Social Dress Buyer at Bloomingdale’s. Her position highlights the art and science of retailing allowing her to utilize both her analytical background and her passion for product. She is responsible for the management of the financial plans and the open to buy for 32 stores and the online business. Additionally, she curates elevated assortments to differentiate Bloomingdale’s dress department and surpass her customers’ expectations. Mary started at Bloomingdale’s in the Level II program upon graduating with her MBA from Wharton. During her MBA, she interned at Nike in Global Merchandising. Prior to her MBA, she did investment consulting for non-profit institutions. Mary resides in Mamaroneck, NY with her husband. She is an avid runner, tennis player and golfer.

Avani Patel, CEO, TrendSeeder

Avani Patel, the Founder and CEO of TrendSeeder, holds an MBA from Columbia Business School (’12) and a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. TrendSeeder is a fashion accelerator structured like a mini fashion focused MBA program for emerging fashion companies. TrendSeeder educates participating companies about the business side of fashio. The curriculum, which covers everything from branding and marketing to fundraising, finance and legal, is taught by industry experts who provide a 360-degree view of running a fashion company. Avani also spends her time consulting with numerous fashion and fashion-tech startups.

Coco and Breezy, Corianna and Brianna Dotson, Founders and Designers, Coco and Breezy

Corianna and Brianna, better known as Coco and Breezy, are the founders of a cutting edge sunglass brand based in New York City that aims to reach new fashion heights and introduce fashion connoisseurs all over the world to their unique sense of style and original accessories. Coco and Breezy designed the brand based on their own passion for making avant-garde fashion and accessories available to all retail consumers. Starting from humble beginnings twin sisters Coco and Breezy grew up best friends in the suburbs Apple Valley, Minnesota. The twins’ bold style and original taste in fashion was initially misunderstood in the community, leading them to develop unique signature studded eyewear as both shields from onlookers and statement pieces, and the pair have been projecting cool and confidence ever since. Since the official NYC launch, Coco & Breezy have been featured in numerous publications such as Teen Vogue, WWD, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Nylon, New York Magazine, and InStyle, to name a few. The sisters boast a powerhouse of celebrity clientele, such as Prince, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Kelly Osbourne and more. Coco and Breezy continue to revolutionize the eyewear industry while leaving their signature designs and style on the fashion accessories world.

Panel Organizer

Karishma Kheskwani, Adjunct Professor of Retail and Marketing, LIM College, and Entrepreneur

Karishma is a Columbia Business School Graduate (’12). She has been an entrepreneur in the jewelry industry since 2004. Her fields of experience span technical disciplines like jewelry manufacturing to sophisticated consumer marketing industries including fashion and diamonds. Prior to starting her own online jewelry retail website, Karishma worked as a buyer at Bloomingdales. Using the skill-sets she gained from her past experience, Karishma is determined to provide her customers with quality products at wholesale prices, thereby fulfilling her goal of turning luxury products into a part of everyday life. Karishma enjoys sharing her experiences and knowledge and currently is also an Adjunct Professor for Marketing and Retail at LIM College.

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