Ms. Angela Arambulo, Creative Director, dELiA*s
Mr. Gary Brody, President, Marcraft Apparel Group
Mr. Jeffrey Brody, Vice President, Marcraft Apparel Group
Ms. Jaz Conlon, Design Director, Bar III – Macy’s
Ms. Elaine De Sousa Crossley, Vice President Merchandise/Planning, Jaclyn Apparel
Mr. Michael Fisher, Fashion Trend Forecaster, Men’s, Stylesight
Mr. Donwan Harrell, President, Founder, Akademiks and PRPS
Mr. Jarvis W Jefferson, Director, Human Resources – Marketing, Macy’s Inc.
Ms. Olga Kontzias, Executive Editor, Fairchild Books
Ms. Rita Nakouzi, Account Manager, Promostyl
Ms. Jemmalyn Santos, Senior Sourcing Manager – Fabric R&D – Madewell 1937/JCrew
Mr. Warren Satchell, Merchandise Manager, Mens Europe, The Gap
Ms. Marie West, President, Body Wrappers
Mr. Ronny Wurtzburger, President, Peerless Clothing International, Inc.
Mr. Andy Yu, President, Bespoke Fashion
Ms. Pat Honeycutt Cantor, Managing Partner, Stonehill Consulting
Mr. Jason Beckwith, Graduate Student, Parsons
Ms. Susan Goodwin, Ralph Lauren, Purple Label, Mens Sweaters
Ms. Katelyn Brehony, Betsey Johnson, Public Relations Coordinator
Ms. Kathryn Irby, Alumnae
Ms. Sonya Cozzi, Hickey Freeman
Jeffrey and Gary Brody, Presidents, Marcraft Apparel Group
It was inevitable that brothers Jeffrey and Gary Brody would end up in the menswear business. Their father, Sheldon Brody, CEO of Marcraft Apparel Group brought his sons into the company’s warehouse and business meetings long before they were wearing their well-crafted suits. As youngsters they’d work on Saturdays and knew about U.S. customs, embargos, and inseams the way other boys knew about the “infield fly rule” and “double coverage.” Their grandfather started the business that now licenses Jones of New York, Evan Picone, the Trump Signature mens suits as well as department store private-label programs.
The Brodys know that a successful business is based on relationships – listening and understanding what the customer wants and never disappointing them. “The key is to get something people want to buy. That’s why you always come up with new fabrications, new silhouettes and find a way to differentiate your product.
People often ask how they came to carry the Trump line. Jeffrey and Gary’s father knew Donald Trump and said to him, “you should have a tailored clothing line,” and the Donald said, “do it.” The suits are now carried in Macy’s and Canada’s Hudson Bay stores.
Elaine De Sousa Crossley, Vice President Merchandise/Planning, Jaclyn Apparel
Vice President Merchandise/Planning, Jaclyn Apparel, NY Elaine has been in the fashion business in either retailing or manufacturing since graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her career started at the JCPenney Company in the NY corporate office.
Donwan Harrell, Founder, Akademiks and PRPS
If you want proof that graduates of the VCUarts Department of Fashion and Merchandising can fulfill their dreams, look no further than Donwan Harrell.The self-acclaimed “worst sewer in his class,” Donwan and his partners run some of the most successful brands in the country – Akademiks, PRPS and aka Stash House. He’s developed different branches to cater to different audiences. His wildly popular PRPs jeans are based on the life of a mechanic – each striation, indentation, crease, scar and abrasion is based on what a mechanic would go through when assembling a car. Donwan’s creations are the best-selling jeans in stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Fred Segal.His advice to fashion students? Learn how to use the computer. Learn Illustrator and Photoshop. Learn about fabrications and pay attention in math class. “If you have a dream or desire, keep working at it. You have to work hard. They’re not going to pop up and be there.”Donwan is an avid reader of car magazines, owns 13 vintage cars (his favorites are those made by Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge in 1962-1971), and when he’s not working, he’s watching American Idol with his kids.
Olga Kontzias, Executive Director, Fairchild Books
Publishing giant Condé Nast has one book division, Fairchild Books, which is headed by VCUarts Department of Fashion and Merchandising Advisory Board member, Olga Kontzias. Fairchild Books publishes textbooks about fashion design and interior design – nothing else. With such a specific niche, Olga has become quite familiar with fashion education and says that VCU’s fashion department is “a hidden treasure.”“
The fact that all VCU design students start in the Art Foundation program, is a very good model,” she says. “And I like how Karen Videtic pays attention to what the industry wants.”
Olga started as a production editor. She coded and evaluated manuscripts and learned editing from all angles. She seeks out authors who have something to teach fashion and interior design students. “Talking to faculty and giving authors the opportunity to write what they really want makes a difference,” she says.
Olga is a world traveler and she writes journals from her many travels. Her “must-see” destination? Chios, Greece.