Fashion & Luxury Forum
Having spent more than twenty years at Elie Tahari, one of only three founder-started fashion brands still in business after forty years, Rory has seen and done it all serving as a Board Member, President and CMO.
From the emergence of fast fashion and the domination of online and mobile shopping, Rory saw around these corners of change to help grow Elie Tahari into a global brand from $50M in yearly sales to $500M in just twelve years.
Today Rory is a co-founder of State of Mind Partners, a strategic branding firm that works with companies that are either self-disrupting or have already disrupted, and invests in business models that are reimagining how the fashion industry goes to market, with a focus on concepts like 3D printing and robotic sewing. These are businesses that endeavor to change and solve for how the fashion industry will brand, market, design and produce products both economically and ecologically. In addition, Rory sits on several corporate boards that focus on fashion, health, beauty, and nutraceuticals.
As a seasoned fashion entrepreneur known for her candor, Rory is an highly sought-after speaker at industry and investing conferences, as well as academic institutions. She is passionate about the changes and realities the fashion industry must confront, as well as issues on women’s leadership and mentorship.
She has been featured in numerous publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, and has appeared on various television programs on CNN, Fox News, Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer, and Martha Stewart.
She lives in New York City with her two teenage children.
Ben Fischman currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of M.Gemi, a direct-to-consumer luxury footwear brand that releases new, handcrafted shoes every week, made in Italy. M.Gemi was established in March 2015 as the first portfolio business within LAUNCH -- a venture-backed organization dedicated to building companies that change the way people shop, think, and live -- of which Fischman is Founder & CEO.
Previously, Fischman was the founder and CEO of Rue La La, one of the earliest players in the digital private sale space, and SmartBargains.com, the off-price e-commerce marketplace. He led both properties to acquisition in 2009 by GSI Commerce, the omnichannel commerce and interactive marketing services provider.
A longtime entrepreneur, Fischman founded LIDS Corporation, the exclusive retailer of sports caps, in 1993, as a junior at Boston University. He eventually sold the company in 2001. Fischman was also the first entrepreneur-in-residence at General Catalyst Partners, a premier venture capital firm that invests in innovative, technology-based companies.
Freida Rothman is a premier Brooklyn-based jewelry designer sold nationally in leading department stores, independent fine jewelers and fashion boutiques. She’s a second generation jeweler and learned about fine jewelry craftsmanship from her father. Coming from a fine jewelry background, she wanted to use the same artistic techniques to create jewelry that was accessible, but still had impeccable craftsmanship, not compromising on the attention to detail and beauty. Her signature matte gold finishes and two-toned colored metals set her apart from other designers. Freida’s primary design inspiration comes from her hometown of Brooklyn. From her window, the architectural skyline of New York City meets the steel and cable span of the Brooklyn Bridge and on the streets, the youthful diversity and urban style of the women. She only sees the beauty in this city as it gave her family a second chance at life when her grandparents immigrated here after the Holocaust. It’s important for Freida to keep the legacy of her grandparents alive.
At the helm of her eponymous brand since 2010, designer Freida Rothman’s vision has established a lifestyle brand of modern classics with a contemporary edge. In 2016, Freida Rothman launched her signature eyewear to captivate her collectors, adding her signature jewelry accents to her high-styled, bold-faced look. 2018 was the debut of her ultra-modern and architecturally stunning handbag collection. Freida continues to explore the depths of fashion in an unexpected way that evokes a captivating and indefinable characteristic. As a mentor on the Accessories Innovation Committee, spearheaded by The Accessories Council, Freida is passionate about actively supporting emerging talent within the industry and giving back in the community. She hopes to keep the legacy of her grandparents alive.
Jeff Kantor was named chief merchandising officer of Macy's in September 2017, with oversight of merchandising, private brands and planning. Prior to becoming chief merchandising officer, Kantor was chief stores and human resources officer.
Kantor has nearly four decades of experience with Macy’s, Inc. and its predecessor companies. He was named chief stores officer of Macy’s, Inc. in February 2015, with responsibility for overseeing all aspects of store strategy, management and operations. He assumed additional responsibility for Human Resources in February 2017. Previously, Kantor was named chairman of macys.com and served as macys.com’s president for merchandising. Prior to that, Kantor had been Macy’s president, merchandising for home. Kantor was previously president and chief executive officer of the Hecht’s/Strawbridge’s division of the May Department Stores Company, which was acquired by Macy’s, Inc. in 2005. Kantor started his career as an assistant buyer at the Boston-based Filene’s/Kaufmann’s division of May Company in 1981.
Intricate details have always been a part of Kobi Halperin’s life, dreams and inspirations.
Born in Israel in the 1970’s and raised in a home with deep Eastern European roots, Kobi grew up surrounded by hand carved ornamented furniture, embellished tapestries and beautifully framed paintings detailed with brushed metals. These intricacies helped shape Kobi’s thirst for aesthetics and perfectionism in the smallest of details and would continue to be a main source of inspiration throughout his career and in current collections.
Kobi studied and received his B.F.A from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. Upon graduating from Shenkar, Kobi moved to New York where he became the creative force behind the Elie Tahari brand for 13 years. In 2012, Kobi became the Executive Creative Director at Kenneth Cole Productions for 3 years.
After 16 years as an accomplished Executive Creative Director, Kobi Halperin stepped into the forefront and launched his own label with his Fall 2015 collection. The label embodies a European sensibility and attitude and is known for its crafted artisan details and modern femininity. The collection draws its primary inspiration from Kobi’s past and upbringing during a more idyllic and romantic era.
In its launch season, the collection was picked up by Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Scoop, Shopbop, and other specialty stores.
Kobi continues aiming to elevate the everyday by bringing to the market collections that are rich in luxurious textiles and beautiful embellishments. His collections are skewed towards emotional novelty pieces with a focus on blouses, dresses, skirts, leathers and vests.
Aside from growing his business – Kobi’s other passion in life is mentoring students. He is actively involved with cultivating and developing Shenkar College’s emerging fashion students and being a mentor to Savannah College of Art and Design students.
Kobi Halperin currently lives in New York City and is married with two daughters.
Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Yves Spinelli combines a contemporary minimalist aesthetic with a love for materials and craftsmanship that he inherited from his Italian father, a fourth-generation trained blacksmith. A longtime manager for the iconic West Hollywood boutique Maxfield and its sister store Maxfield Bleu, Yves felt there was something missing in the men’s market full of ornate and gothic options. He dreamed of a piece of jewelry that was tough but also modern and sculptural.
Drawing inspiration from a 1971 National Geographic poster hanging in his garage, Yves thought about the cosmos and how gravitationally bound systems of stars are tied into patterns that evolve over time. He created a set of sterling silver linked rings of different thicknesses which could be worn a number of ways—spread across three fingers, or stacked on one. He soon found his clients, both male and female, eager to literally buy this first set of Galaxy Rings off his hands.
Yves launched Spinelli Kilcollin in 2010. As he made the move to fine jewelry, experimenting with precious metals and pavé diamond setting, the Spinelli Kilcollin circle has expanded exponentially. The brand has since opened retail accounts internationally that include: Colette, A’maree’s, Dover Street Market, Harrods, Matchesfashion.com, and all locations of Barneys New York.
Anna is Co-Founder + Chief Brand Officer, Snap+Style Business, an engagement platform for brands and retailers to communicate with their customers in a personal, visually curated and truly-ominchannel way. The platform digitizes the in-store conversation consumers have store associates, now allowing for the conversation to continue via email or SMS. Anna oversees all aspects of the business including product design, business development, partnerships, brand awareness, recruitment and board communication.
Prior to Snap+Style Business, Anna ran point on Corporate Sponsorships and Events on behalf of ObjectVideo and Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s affiliated non-profit organizations. She focused on fundraising and sponsorship integrations, wearing dozens of hats across many channels. One of her greatest achievements in this role was reaching a D.C. record breaking non-profit total of $4.8 million raised in a single event.
Anna graduated from the University of Tennessee–Knoxville with a Bachelors Degree in Communications, and completed graduate course work at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology and General Assembly.
As her experience and education attest, Anna is driven and happiest when she finds herself busy in a way that would overwhelm most. She is now focused on building Snap+Style Business’ total customer experience: overseeing all communication efforts, stylist recruitment, as well as brand/consumer engagement. She loves spending time with family, friends, her chocolate lab, Dakota, traveling, reading and sailing.
James is Co-Founder and CEO of Splashlight, a leading content creation company, generating high-quality fashion photography and video for luxury brands retailing online. James joined Splashlight in 2005. He has over two decades of business leadership experience in the creative services industry. His previous role was COO of Fuel Digital Inc.
James is a passionate advocate of the power of creative intelligence and the insight that can be drawn from analytic data as it relates to imagery and consumer behaviour. Consumer behaviour is a central concept behind a new platform that Splashlight has created, which tracks data points, inputs, etc. and presents the data to retailers in a way that they can utilize during the creative process.
Karen is CEO and Co-founder of Trendalytics, a product intelligence platform that boosts a retailer's competitive edge.
Karen has over 15 years of experience in consumer brands, retail and technology. At Goode Partners, she executed the firm’s investment in SkullCandy (NASDAQ: SKUL) and worked on the turnaround of a luxury specialty retailer. Previously she worked in Gap Inc.’s Corporate Strategy group, where she assessed acquisition opportunities and new retail concept opportunities. Karen started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs & Co. where she executed over $1 billion in technology and media transactions. Karen is a venture partner at Grace Beauty Capital.
Karen has spoken on commerce innovation at NRF, Shoptalk and Strata and has appeared on the Wall Street Journal, WWD, Forbes and the Sourcing Journal. Karen holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from UCLA. Her research at Harvard included studies in multi-channel retailing, luxury diffusion brands and supply chain innovation for emerging brands.
Mallory Rosen is currently working as a Digital Consultant with LeSportsac after previously holding the role of E-Commerce Manager with the company. She works alongside E-commerce and marketing teams on the overall digital strategy for the brand's US market. LeSportsac is an iconic lifestyle brand owned by the Japanese conglomerate Itochu Corporation. She has been recognized for her work in the successful replatforming of LeSportsac.com in January of 2018. She began her career in E-Commerce at Saks Fifth Avenue after graduating from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. During her tenure at Saks Fifth Avenue, she worked in e-merchandising across all product categories. As the business needs grew, Mallory worked alongside the corporate strategy team on the establishment and roll out of omni-channel merchandising strategies. Saks Fifth Avenue went on to become the first major retailer fulfilling web orders with store inventory. During this project, Mallory's work was recognized with the receipt of a Most Valuable Employee award. Mallory went on to become the E-Commerce Manager, and later Senior Manager, for Roaman's.com, a Fullbeauty Brand.
Mallory is very involved with The Arthritis Foundation. She will be recognized as the Honoree at this year's Walk To Cure Arthritis - New York City Chapter in the spring. Mallory also sits on the committee for the annual walk event. She is a former committee member of Sunrise On The Rocks, an annual fundraising event for Sunrise Day Camp.
A true entrepreneur of the computer age, Sam quit formal schooling (in computer science and mathematics) to pursue his vision. In 1985, observing long lines at the local Benetton store, he demonstrated the need for a computerized system for the franchisee. Unable to find one that met the retailer’s expectations, he created his own. From his vision for an affordable, PC-based solution for specialty retailers, Sam went on to develop the single-platform, feature-rich technology that is today’s leading enterprise-class, cloud-based system for the retail industry. Sam takes his clients’ success personally. He is a hands-on leader with an obsession for excellence, who guides every aspect of KWI. Married, with four children, he is a deeply committed family man and is active in charitable foundations.
Billie Whitehouse is the CEO, designer and director of Wearable X. Once compared to Elon Musk by Business Insider, Billie specializes in the combination of hardware, software and apparel for wearable technology products. Forbes recently compared Billie to Steve Jobs and Jerry Seinfeld. Known for her development of Nadi X and Fan Jersey recently presented at Super Bowl 50, Billie is invigorating the fashion industry and transforming it into a business focused on improving the quality of our lives.
Billie is an aesthetic specialist with a naturally inquisitive nature towards technology and innovation. As a garment engineer she strongly believes people should not have to look like the technology that they have grown to love and depend on. Billie’s designs are sharp, experimental, naturally confident and subtly feminine in appearance integrated with the latest technology.
Business Insider recently named Billie as one of the 30 most important women under 30 in tech and she was named in the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. The highlight for Billie in 2016 was winning The Wearable Award in Paris at Show Room Privé as well as being featured on the Jimmy Fallon Show. In 2017 the highlight was being named one of the most innovative companies in Fitness by Fast Company.
Billie is a renowned keynote speaker with presentations stretching from WORLDZ
2017, Synergy Global 2017 at Madison Square Garden, The New Yorker Tech Fest 2016, Fortune’s Elevate 2016, Belgium Fashion Congress 2015, Cannes Lions 2015/2016, Wired UK 2015, Conde Nast Digital Russia 2016, India Fashion Forum 2016 and many more.
Robert Scheckman is an experienced executive with results driven leadership, strategic planning and team oriented business development organizational skills. After spending over a decade leading ad tech, influencer marketing, and Saas start-ups, Robert knows what it truly takes to build multi-million dollar businesses from scratch. “It’s all about bringing together a collaborative team of people, creating a winning culture and listening intently to your customer’s needs.”
Robert is currently VP Business Development at StyleSage, an AI- powered retail analytics solution that enables retailers/brands to increase their speed to market. Leveraging image recognition as a core competency, StyleSage also provides an E-commerce Smart Tagging solution that improves the customer shopper experience. Additionally, through StyleSage, Robert is an Inaugural NYC Cohort Member of SAP.iO Foundry.
Robert holds an M.B.A. in Marketing from NYU Stern and Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Alfred University.
Tara is Founder and Creative Director of Hothouse, a Retail Strategy & Design Studio. She is a seasoned Visual Merchandising professional with 10 years experience designing brand-building retail experience strategies. She has held positions at luxury fashion houses Burberry and Tory Burch with her work spanning across both creative and commercial channels. Tara’s diverse career trajectory, coupled with an educational foundation in Economics has equipped the her with interdisciplinary, creative leadership skills in the realms of business development and creative strategy.
Josh Kadden is the US lead for Business Development at INTURN. INTURN is a rapidly growing New York startup backed by strategic retail investors including Novel TMT, Benvolio Group, Forerunner Ventures and B Capital. INTURN's B2B platform addresses the operational complexities of the off-price retail space and the steep drop-off of merchandise value.
Prior to INTURN, Kadden was a member of the founding team of the Michigan Sport Business Conference (MSBC), which over the past seven years has become a nationally-recognized event as mentioned in Forbes, Sports Business Journal, and Crain’s Detroit Business. Kadden remains actively involved in shaping the strategy and vision of MSBC as a member of the Alumni Council.
From the tender age of 5, my mother instilled in me my sense of creativity. I enjoyed anything arts and crafts related, and I was good. I was the most talented artist among all of my peers in school. Not to mention the lessons my mother would teach me about fashion, fabrication, design, business, and value. Years later, I graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Sociology and Mathematics, but I was still not satisfied.
On June 26, 2016 my angel and father passed. I spent sleepless nights, tireless hours pouring my effort into translating my passion to a product. After I lost my father, all of my pain was poured in to this beautiful pearl, which I cherished since he gave it to me for my birthday. It was a pink strand of pearls that crafted my hands. There is nothing more I love than creating an authentic piece of love that can be given and cherished forever. The birth of Designs by Mel Z was born after my father passed and I was gifted with finding my true passion and what makes me complete.
This event starts on Wednesday January 30th at 6:00 PM.
YJP is an exclusive community dedicated to connecting young professionals with current industry leaders to help them become the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Our signature roundtable format was specifically designed to foster organic discussions about the future of fashion and luxury, develop new long-term professional relationships, and allow our members to explore potential partnerships and professional opportunities. Join us for gourmet bites, signature cocktails, and strategic networking as we convene with New York's top fashion and luxury leaders.
Questions about this event? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org .