The Fashion Issue: The 2012 Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

Welcome to The Harbus‘ annual Fashion Issue. Since HBS students are in the business of looking good in class, at the Kong, and in the boardroom, it seems fitting that we devote this week’s paper to fashion as an industry and an art. In this issue you’ll hear from campus fashionistas and fashion entrepreneurs in the HBS community. This issue takes place against the backdrop of this weekend’s Retail and Luxury Goods Conference. Below is a preview of what to expect from the conference panels and keynote speakers. 

Keynote Speakers

Max Azria, Founder, Designer, Chairman and CEO of BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP

Steve Kolb, CEO of The Council of Fashion Designers or America

Panel: Partnerships

• Jean Madar, Chairman & Co-Founder, Interperfumes

• David Lipman, Chief Creative Officer, LIPMAN

Have you ever wondered why Missoni would do a line for Target? Or why, when Nike decided to come out with their ever-popular Sportbands, they chose to partner with Apple?

There is a growing trend in retail of collaborations that sometimes seem complementary, and sometimes seem far from it. This panel will explore the proliferation of strategic alliances between retailers and designers to grow their businesses, reach new customers, or redefine their brands. We will discuss the origins of partnerships, the underlying strategies and criteria for these collaborations, best practices around their management, and the role they will likely play in the retail industry going forward.

Panel: Emerging Markets

• Kai Schoppen, CEO, Brandsclub Group, Brazil

• Malte Horeyseck, Co-Founder/Managing Director, Dafiti, Brazil

• Tikka Karpurthala, Chief Asia Rep. Moet-Hennessy/Louis Vuitton, India

• Anya Ayoung Chee, Winner, Project Runway Season 9 and Designer, PILAR

“Emerging markets” has been the buzz term in retail and luxury goods companies recently, as key international economies continue to mature and firms look to global expansion as a major growth engine. From CEOs of Brazilian e-commerce companies to luxury tycoons from India to young designers from the Caribbean, the Emerging Markets Panel at the RLGC Conference will provide a fresh look at what is sure to be more than a trend.

Panel: Innovative Business Models

• Jane Kim, VP Strategic Development, Lot18

• Frederic Fekkai, Founder, President, Frederic Fekkai

• Amanda Campo, Creative Director, Joyus

• Vivian Weng, Founder, Fashionstake (now part of

• Beatrice Pang, Co-Founder & CEO, ModeWalk

Within an ever-evolving retail landscape, firms must continually find new ways to connect with customers, forging deep bonds and solidifying engagement to drive growth. Innovative business models allow firms to build strong customer relationships and encourage loyalty, interacting with customers through new channels, formats, or revenue models. Panelists will discuss the approaches their companies have taken, challenges in design and execution of innovative business models, and where they see new opportunities for further innovation.

Panel: New Brand Directions

• Julie Bull, Director of Investor Relations, Dillards

• Tony Campbell, EVP of Administration, Vice Chairman’s Office, Perry Ellis

• Mark Bonchek, Senior Vice President Communities and Networks, Sears

This panel will discuss the rationale behind reinvigorating, repositioning or re-launching brands as a platform for long term success, key strategies employed and their impact on the company and its customers.

For more information about the conference, and to purchase tickets, please visit