Fashion Tech Forum: In The Studio continues the themes, ideas and conversations introduced at Fashion Tech Forum, the annual conference that brings together leaders and visionaries shaping the future of these intersecting industries.
This podcast will provide perspective and valuable insights from the minds of world-class talent, global leaders and brand visionaries. We also present discussions with cultural and business luminaries who are making a significant difference for women, sustainable practices and our communities in need. These conversations focus on sharing personal journeys and pivotal experiences and dig deeply into how these leaders see the future.
“The Space Between” is an especially relevant conversation during this time of turbulent change, where quieting the mind is essential for determining the best way forward. We bring into focus the practice of awareness, which translates to all aspects of our daily life. Our guests are extraordinary leaders who embrace this practice and are able to bring greater clarity to how they think about innovation, new ways of working, and creating culture.
Hosted by Karen Harvey.
Karen Harvey is CEO and Founder of The Karen Harvey Companies, an ecosystem of services, brands and platforms. KHC brings talent, strategy, vision and culture together to create world class brands through executive search, advisory services and workshops. FTF creates a space for visionaries, innovators and those driving the conversation across industries and culture. INDX connects emerging creatives with progressive brands for employment opportunities and knowledge sharing partnerships. A Zen student for more than 30 years, Karen integrates her practice across all of her businesses. Karen is a graduate of the OPM Program of Harvard Business School.
Hashem Bajwa redefines what it is to be a strategist. His world is one that enables true transformation and innovation, and one where he leads a creative process designed to remake brands, design new products and create the sometimes arduous road to developing new customer and brand experiences. The former Director of Retail Strategy and Experience Design at Apple, Hashem works with world-class brands and their leaders to elevate their vision and architect the future, by helping them craft clear narratives that lead to reinvented retail design, digital platforms and products created to enhance the consumer experience. He is a catalyst for change who is able to translate intention into action.
Alongside Angela Ahrendts and the team at Apple, Hashem led the transformation of the Apple retail experience with the creation of Today at Apple. This comprehensive, global and local program allowed Apple to turn their assets and products into dynamic learning, creative and entertaining experiences for Apple's consumers globally and locally. Through his unique understanding of how to bring cross-functional teams together to make something new at the Enterprise level, Hashem threaded the needle, allowing Apple to achieve this mission driven concept for consumers everywhere.
Hashem’s career began at the United Nations working in communications. His unique approach of sparking energy with heart, humanity, equality and creativity will no doubt be of extraordinary value as he pursues this next phase in his career, of working with clients on transformative projects. He is someone who believes in and lives by the idea that we must leave the world better than we found it, which is only one of the many inspiring takeaways from being with Hashem. In this conversation, Karen and Hashem discuss not only his career as an exceptional strategist and leader, but the fundamentals of transformation, the psychology involved and the self-awareness that’s required in order to truly excel, inspire and ignite change.
When Alice Delahunt went to Ralph Lauren three years ago as the Chief Digital Officer, her arrival signaled the beginning of the next stage of the brand’s digital innovation. Having spent the previous seven years at Burberry, Alice flourished in a community of forward thinkers and highly talented teams that were approaching consumer engagement in an entirely new way.
This podcast with Alice brings many important themes together, as we all work to navigate the many different dynamics impacting our professional roles and daily lives. Among the many refreshing aspects of this conversation, Alice brings a focus on Community, which has really served as her North Star in finding her way both personally and professionally. “Work isn’t just a place you go to and earn a living, it is a place you go to form a community,” a lesson she learned from her family early on. Having grown up in Ireland, with a fun-loving, closely knit family, Alice came to appreciate the humanity of work by observing her father’s approach to his family business. Through her own professional journey, she has learned the importance of being kind to ourselves and others, in all that we do. Today, Alice honors all of this as she works as part of a team to create the future of the iconic Ralph Lauren brand.
As the Chief Digital and Content Officer at Ralph Lauren, Alice serves as a builder of communities, bridging the gap between brand tradition and the next generation of consumers. Focusing on many of the areas that are most important to the future of any iconic company today, she is a key member of a leadership team that has been recognized for its bold social and digital initiatives.
We hope you enjoy this conversation with Alice, as she shares critical insights into how to navigate the digital landscape, while bringing us along on her personal journey of becoming the leader and committed change agent she is today. Her thoughts on the future of personalization, content, social media and connected retail are at once enlightening and inspiring, as we look ahead and to building impactful brands of the future.
Elise Loehnen is extraordinary. A gifted writer, storyteller, content creator, podcast host, marketer, thought leader and media executive, her impact has been felt by women everywhere - from goop’s loyal following of impactful celebrities, to those of us who commended her bold exploration in the goop lab Netflix series that she also co-hosted. While she is probably best known as the former Chief Content Officer and Editor-at-Large for goop, Elise has been recognized for more than a decade, as a co-author of 11 books, where her special gift for bringing other creators' vision to life, resulted in 5 of them becoming best sellers. Having stepped down from goop to write a book under her own name for a division of Penguin Random House, Elise is at an exciting turning point in her own career. Now shifting from her safe place of acting as a “doula” for other people’s ideas, to now stepping into what we believe is her rightful place as a contemporary voice of change.
In this conversation, Karen and Elise discuss everything from the loss of an immediate loved one, something that so many of us have had to reckon with during this pandemic, to her early upbringing and first jobs in publishing - all of which have been important aspects of her journey as an author and thought leader committed to never just scratching the surface.
Walter Frye, Vice President of Global Brand Engagement & Design with American Express, is more than a marketing, business and team leader: he is a driving force and inspiration, a cultural connector who leads from a place of empathy at all times. Raised by two loving, hardworking and fiercely supportive parents, themselves raised in the segregated South, this conversation explores this particular moment in our country’s history, as well as in Walter’s life, where his past, present and future seem to have come together in a call to action, giving him this opportunity to do more, be bigger, and truly step into his place as a leader in the fight against racial injustice and inequality - and how he is absolutely seizing the moment.
Tony Ambroza is the Chief Brand Officer of Carhartt, the original workwear company, founded by Hamilton Carhartt in 1889. An exceptional and authentic brand, Carhartt’s heritage has never been more relevant. Since its founding, the brand has served essential workers, developing and manufacturing highly protective and innovative apparel and gear for those doing extremely hard work in all kinds of climates. In this conversation, Tony and Karen discuss the responsibility of brands with an authentic purpose and heritage to stay true to their core and inherent vision, and the power of a brand like Carhartt whose teams live by the same values as the consumers it serves. They also discuss how Tony and his teams continue to push the brand forward, and how COVID-19 pushed them to further embrace technology and expand their digital strategy to both meet the needs of their consumers during this time, and expand their consumer base, while continuing to tell the story of what Carhartt stands for: doing the right thing, being a good person, and finding and uniting on the common bonds of hard work.
Also in this episode, Tony and Karen talk about the necessity of sensitive leadership in times of crisis, including how to empower strong teams, what it means to invest in talent, and the hard but necessary moments when leaders have to have tough conversations with their teams. Tony also shares how he keeps his team inspired, the importance of making mistakes, and the single most critical thing any leader or person can do: never stop learning.
Quynh Mai is perhaps one of the most brilliant yet under-the-radar futurists specializing in Gen Z and Digital, and her insights into how brands can connect with this emerging Gen Z movement are both inspiring and pragmatic. After working for many years in Fashion with advertising agencies like Lipman, Quynh founded her own strategic creative firm, Moving Image & Content. MI&C obsesses over the Gen Z mindset, and works closely with brands to bring truly modern and innovative digital marketing strategies and consumer facing activations to life. Quynh is also a longtime friend of Karen’s and an important collaborator with Fashion Tech Forum, as she has appeared on our stage as a keynote speaker twice discussing the future of culture and digital consumerism. Most recently, Quynh and her team worked with Marc Jacobs on the launch of his new fragrance, PERFECT, which they did through an all digital, interactive and highly creative experiential event.
In this episode, Karen and Quynh discuss everything from how to build community with this next generation of consumers, to the challenge brands have in acquiring the right talent to meet the needs of Gen Z, who crave a true connection with brands and a seat at the table. Quynh also goes deep in helping us understand Gen Z as more than a target market, but a mindset - and how the combination of this mindset and the pandemic has changed all of us forever.
Given this new reality, Quynh and Karen agree on the immediate need for brands to move forward on a new path, as there is no such thing as recovery at this stage - there is only reinvention.