Designers, manufacturers, retailers, influencers, and collaborators all deserve a spotlight of their own!

This year we are proud to recognize:

Lizanne Kindle

Person of the Year

Lizanne Kindler
Executive Chair and CEO, KnitWell Group

Lizanne Kindler is the Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer of KnitWell Group, a multi-brand retail operating company comprised of the iconic American apparel brands, Ann Taylor, Haven Well Within, Lane Bryant, LOFT and Talbots. Together, these brands generate more than $4 billion in sales on an annual basis making KnitWell one of the largest specialty apparel companies in the United States.

Ms. Kindler returned to Talbots as President in August of 2012 when the company was purchased by private equity firm, Sycamore Partners.  She was promoted to CEO nine months later.  In January 2021, Ms. Kindler was also named Executive Chair and Interim CEO of Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lane Bryant, collectively known as Ascena. These brands are also part of the Sycamore Partners portfolio. In May 2023, KnitWell Group was established to formalize a best-in-class, multi-brand operating model. KnitWell brings all of the brands together to leverage and create best practices, but also recognizes each one for its unique characteristics and customers.

Under Ms. Kindler’s leadership, the Talbots brand has returned to healthy levels of sales and profitability, opened new stores, developed new concepts and entered new product categories.  The company currently has more than 8,000 associates and operates more than 500 retail stores across the United States. And despite the challenging retail environment, Talbots has continued to thrive thanks to a strong commitment to product innovation, operational excellence and technology investments.

Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lane Bryant have more than 20,000 associates and over 1,200 stores across the United States. The company was acquired during the bankruptcy process in December of 2020. In the last 12 months, Ms. Kindler and the leadership team have generated double-digit increases in EBITDA and returned a significant amount of capital to shareholders while putting these brands back on a path to financial health and stability.

Ms. Kindler started her career at Ann Taylor Stores Corporation, where she spent 15 years in various leadership roles.  She was instrumental in leading the foundational stages of their ecommerce business, as well as launching Ann Taylor Loft.  Ms. Kindler left Ann Taylor in 2008 to come to Talbots the first time as the Senior Vice President of Merchandising.  Two years later, she worked with Kohl’s as the Executive Vice President of Product Development. 

Ms. Kindler is a well-respected leader in the industry and in the community. For the last three years, Talbots was named as one of the Top 10 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts by The Commonwealth Institute and the Globe Magazine. She has been instrumental in cementing Talbots status as a brand with purpose by leading the brand’s partnership with Dress for Success, which has raised nearly $7 million since its inception in 2014.  Ms. Kindler served four years as an Expert-In-Residence for Babson College’s WIN (Women Innovating Now) Lab, an accelerator for women entrepreneurs. She was on the Advisory Board of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University for three years. And in January of 2020, Ms. Kindler was named to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, a position she continues to hold today.

A native of Denmark, Ms. Kindler graduated from the Copenhagen Business School with a BA in Economics. 

Company of the Year

Carhartt, Inc.
Danilo Amoretty, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain - Product Supply and Operations, accepting

Founded in 1889 as a purveyor of workwear in Detroit, Michigan by Hamilton Carhartt, Carhartt, Inc. has grown from a mere two sewing machines and five employees creating the brand’s now-legendary bib to one of America’s most recognizable brands. Emblazoned with the iconic “C” patch, Carhartt’s workwear is instantly recognized the world over for rugged, durable gear designed to serve and protect hardworking people and last generations.

Today, Carhartt remains family-owned by direct descendants of Hamilton Carhartt himself and operates more than 30 company-owned stores, with their flagship location and headquarters still located in the company’s hometown of Detroit. Carhartt has manufacturing operations in the United States, Mexico, and Europe, with more than 3,000 employees worldwide. Continuing to redefine the limits of workwear with new technologies and enduring value, Carhartt remains committed to providing purpose-built products designed to take on any condition – both on and off the job site.

Designer of the Year

Wes Gordon
Creative Director, Carolina Herrera

Appointed by the brand’s legendary founder, Carolina Herrera, Wes leads the global creative strategy of the global luxury fashion house across all brand platforms including ready-to-wear, fragrance, beauty, and eyewear. Upon graduation from Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London, the Atlanta-raised designer moved to New York City to launch his eponymous line of womenswear and presented his collection in New York from 2010 to 2016.

During this time, Gordon received the Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award and was a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. In March 2017, Wes began consulting with Carolina Herrera before being appointed Creative Director in 2018. Most recently, Wes was inducted into Business of Fashion’s venerable #BoF500 list and in 2021 the Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.

Pamela Coke Hamilton

Global Vanguard

Pamela Coke-Hamilton
Executive Director, International Trade Centre

Pamela Coke-Hamilton has served as Executive Director of ITC since October 2020. Since that time she has led the agency to meet the economic and trade challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent global supply chain disruptions. Ms. Coke-Hamilton has a breadth of experience and expertise in trade-related capacity-building and sustainable development and a deep understanding of the challenges faced by vulnerable economies such as the small island developing states and least developed countries. Ms. Coke-Hamilton has worked extensively with the private sector and academia across African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to build trade-related institutional strength within member States. She also established the Women Empowered through Export (WeXport) platform to address the disadvantages that women-owned firms experience in accessing markets. She began her career in Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and later also served as Director of Trade, Tourism and Competitiveness of the Organization of American States (OAS) and Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).

 

Trailblazer

Allan Ellinger
Senior Managing Partner, MMG Advisors

Founder and Senior Managing Partner of MMG Advisors, a 35-year-old investment banking advisory practice focused on the consumer product sector, Allan has been instrumental in building and evolving the practice from its initial turnaround/restructuring emphasis to one of the preeminent full-service M&A firms servicing the fashion and consumer products sector. Since 1989, Allan and the firm have been involved in hundreds of engagements including restructurings, sell-side, and buy-side investment banking assignments.

Allan is an active fashion insider who strongly believes in, and advocates for, social responsibility. He is the Founder and former Chairman of Fashion Delivers, which merged with K.I.D.S. in 2013 to form Delivering Good, which Allan than chaired through 2018. He has also been a member of the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City's Accountants & Bankers Division, and the Fashion Division of UJA Federation of New York, as well as board member of the AAFA.

Hear more from Allan

Pamela Coke Hamilton

Eco-Steward of the Year

Global Fashion Agenda
Federica Marchionni, CEO, accepting

Federica Marchionni is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Global Fashion Agenda (GFA). Founded in Denmark, GFA is a non-profit organisation with the ultimate vision to create a net positive fashion industry for the people and the planet across entire eco-system.

Before joining GFA, Marchionni attained leadership roles in Europe, USA, and China. During the e-commerce expansion, Marchionni took a role as International CEO of Secoo, a Chinese e-commerce retailer in China. Prior to this, Marchionni was CEO and Board Director at Lands’ End and President of Dolce&Gabbana Inc., based in America. Before moving to the States, Marchionni worked as SVP at Ferrari HQ in Italy. Her career began in the early stage of the telecommunication industry, working for global players such as Samsung, Philips, and Ericsson.

She is a guest speaker at high-caliber conferences and top academic institutions including Harvard University and Stanford University, Financial Times, Fortune and COP. Marchionni graduated from La Sapienza University with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a thesis in the mobility business.

Read on with a few remarks from Federica!

Emcee

Segun Oduolowu

The proud son of Nigerian immigrants, Segun Oduolowu is the Host of Boston Globe Today. The revolutionary multi-platform news, sports, and entertainment show is televised five days a week on NESN, and streamed anytime on Globe.com.

Before coming to Boston, Segun was a correspondent for PEOPLE magazine's PEOPLE The TV Show! He was also the host of the nationally syndicated news magazine show The List. Segun also routinely contributes to CNN, CNN International, NBC News Now, and NewsNation.

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