Conference Date: October 5, 2018

Location: Kellen Auditorium (N101) | 66 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10003



Led by faculty and students in the School of Design Strategies and the School of Fashion, Redefining Luxury, seeks to challenge current definitions of Luxury, provoke new paradigms in the Luxury Industry, and imagine the future of luxury.

As an institution committed to creative strategies to solve the most pressing social issues, students and faculty at Parsons are examining the roles and responsibilities in the field of Luxury, to foster sustainable practices, equity, and social justice.

This initiative celebrates a moment of change where advances in biotechnology may make material rarity obsolete; advances in digital technology and social media have created new expectations that remove authority from a single source; consumers are valuing experiences over physical product, and developments in AI and blockchain will change our decision-making processes.

Conference Format

Opening Remarks 10:00am -10:30am

Panel: Luxury Now x Future 10:45am — 12:00pm

Networking/Lunch 12:00pm — 1:00pm

Panel B: Luxury A Force for Good? 1:00pm — 2:30pm

Networking/ Coffee break 2:30pm — 3:00pm

Keynote Speaker 3:00pm — 4:00pm

Networking/ Happy Hour 4:00pm — 5:00pm

Speaker Profiles

Benjamin Prosky is the Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) and the Center for Architecture. With a background in urban studies and urban planning, Prosky has devoted his career to a range of projects and initiatives dedicated to the promotion and interpretation of architecture and the city. He first started working for the Institut français;architecture (IFA) in Paris, coordinating exhibitions and public programs. He then moved to the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA), where he worked as Head of Public and University Programs. Prosky worked for six years at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) as Director of Special Events and External Affairs. In 2009, he was one of a team of four to co-found Architizer, the first social and professional networking site for architects. Prior to his role at AIANY, Prosky served for five years as Assistant Dean for Communications at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD), where he oversaw exhibitions, publications, events and web content. Prosky serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Architecture Organizations and is a member of the Steering Committee of NYCxDESIGN.

Founder & Chief Hustler, Covetella

Dubbed an International Style Icon by E! News and a “savvy young entrepreneur” by Forbes magazine, Carol is an award-winning fashion designer who has built four businesses across four countries. She is currently the founder of Singapore’s premier fashion rental destination, Covetella, which provided over 70 dresses and accessories for the hit movie, “Crazy Rich Asians”. Starting off making couture gowns, Carol’s work has been featured alongside Vivienne Westwood at the renowned de Young Museum and her first ready-to-wear line was sold in over 300 stores. She also built her own garment factory in China and created one of Hong Kong’s first mixed martial arts brands. In an effort to create more sustainable ways to look good, Carol launched Covetella in 2015 with the mission to empower all women by giving them the modern Cinderella experience. A native Texan, Carol studied psychology and economics at Barnard College, business at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She was selected as one of the delegates to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by President Obama and was also a top finalist on the Singapore reality TV show, ‘START-UP’. You can follow her entrepreneurial journey and sartorial adventures at @lifebycarol.

Lisle Richards is best known as co-founder of The Metric, an integrated hospitality marketing group which owns, operates, and develops establishments that go well beyond the traditional guest experience.

After studying Advertising and Photography and moving to New York City, Richards grew from a waiter at esteemed venues including Odeon and Balthazar to opening and operating the STK concept for the newly minted One Group. Seven years and more than 18 properties later, Richards left The One Group as the Vice President of Operations to start his own hospitality company.

In 2011, Richards then went on to join Eric Marx in establishing The Metric, which took the city by storm opening up The Monarch Room, Gilded Lily, and The Wayfarer, and gaining much sought after attention. Most recently, The Metric partnered with Pepsi Cola to produce a “transformative space that didn’t fit into just one category” now popularly known as Kola House — a performance and experiential venue. As nightclubs, American brasseries, and modern supper clubs, The Metric’s venues are known for creating a unique experience for the active New Yorker. They also specialize in fostering and maintaining high profile relationships within the fashion, art, food, and design industries. As the company continues to grow, Richards’ love of design and original love of art and photography is realized through the creation of these concepts of which New York has fallen in love. Most recently, The Metric opened a West Village healthy fast casual concept with Antoni Porowski of Netflix’s Queer Eye called Village Den. They reimagined a long standing diner with notes to comfortable cooking done in a healthy and conscious way.

Noa Raviv is a New York based Israeli designer and artist.

Working in the intersection of fashion, art, and technology, Noa‘s work often combines traditional handcraft such as sewing, pleating and beading with innovative technologies such as 3D printing, laser cutting and digital fabric printing.

Her work has garnered international press recognition (Vogue, NY Magazine, BBC, Wired and others) and was presented globally in exhibitions, including at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Israel Museum in Jerusalem and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Noa has been invited to speak in universities and art institutions around the world and in 2016 she was chosen to be included in the prestigious list of Forbes 30 Under 30 and was also selected by Vogue as one of the best young designers of the year.

Christopher Lacy, is a 20-year veteran in the fashion retail industry. He has worked across multiis career he has managed and strategized for businesses such as Armani, Hugo Boss, Donna Karan, Omega, Zilli and Gucci. Currently, Christopher uses his expertise to evolve the business and client engagement at Barneys New York as the Director of Customer Experience, Learning and Strategy. Christopher has been with Barneys New York for five years, and before taking on his current role was the Group Manager for leather, accessories, jewelry, skincare and cosmetics.

Christopher was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and attended California Institute of the Arts where he perfected his craft of performance through dance and film. An avid horseback rider he resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York which allows him to escape the pace of the city and draw inspiration from nature. When Christopher is not in New York he is often traveling globally and speaking on the current landscape of the retail industry and how to improve it.

Christopher’s skill set has made him an industry leader and an expert in his field. He uses intuition and strategy to get desired KPI results and empower retail teams. Christopher, understands that we must always be willing to adapt and ready to act to deliver “best in class” performance. Through innovation and passion Christopher successfully leads the next generation of luxury retail professionals.

Kay Unger is an American fashion designer. Until July 2012 she was the creative head and public face of Phoebe Company LLC and its brands; Kay Unger New York, Phoebe Couture, Unger by Kay Unger and Kay J’s by Kay Unger. Kay is an active member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).

In 1999, she was inducted as a Leading Woman Entrepreneur of the WorldTM. In 2005 the company launched Kay J’s, a whimsical print pajama brand. In 2007, they launched Phoebe Couture, a more youthful and edgier line of dresses for day and evening. Later that same year, they began opening Kay Unger and Phoebe Couture boutiques in China through a licensing agreement with the JT Group of Hong Kong. In September 2008 Kay Unger New York Eyewear and Phoebe Couture Eyewear were launched. The $40 million company’s dresses, suits, and eyewear are currently sold in more than 24 countries including the U.K., Turkey, Brazil, Australia, and Spain.

Additionally, she is on the Board of Directors as well as a Trustee at her alma mater, Parsons/The New School for Design, as well as a participant in their education program in the Dominican Republic, where she has traveled as a guest instructor.

Preethi Gopinath is an educator, textile designer, product development, and marketing professional with extensive international experience in the area of creative design for home and apparel textiles, CAD (including texture mapping), styling, production, sourcing, merchandising, entrepreneurship, and research with over 20 years of international experience in the textiles industry. She graduated from the National Institute of Design in India where she focused on weaving, printing, embroidery, and garment design. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in textile development, design, marketing and technology at the Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as fashion design, business, and management at George Brown College in Toronto. Gopinath has written for TheSweet, and has worked on product and design for Carini Lang, NYC; Springs Global, Canada; and Hua Fang USA. Gopinath’s research explores traditional Gyaser weaving techniques, particularly handloom, silk brocade weaving of Benares, India.

Mark Fina is a multi-disciplinary Creative Director with deep expertise in beauty and fashion.

Mark began his career in the traditional worlds of beauty and fashion, developing strong visual aesthetics for iconic brands such as Fendi, Revlon, Ultima, Charles of the Ritz, Almay, Max Factor, The Limited, Express, Henri Bendel, COVERGIRL, L’Oréal, Jean Patou, Giorgio Fragrances, Hugo and Hugo Boss. He honed his eye working with photographers and directors including Horst P. Horst, Patrick Demarchelier, Kurt Markus, Arthur Elgort, Michael Thompson, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, Mert & Marcus, Peter Lindbergh, Raymond Meier, Jeff Cronenweth, Harris Savides, Philippe Le Sourd, Darius Khondji, and many others.

Wendy, trained as an architect, is the creative director and founder of WE-DESIGNS (architecture/creative strategy) and Resilient Modular Systems, PBC (socially missioned venture). She is the winner of the Autodesk Pier 9 AiRs, Young CAADRIA Award, Digital Kluge Fellowship awarded by the Library of Congress, the Art Director’s Club of New York’s ADC Young Guns 11 Award, AIA (American Institute of Architects) Dallas “Express Yourself” Women in Architecture Award, and selected designer of the Perspective 40 under 40 Award, and the Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award. Wendy was most recently an assistant professor at the Gerald D Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston, where she led the Digital Media and Design Program. Wendy has an M.Arch and Certification of Urban Policy/Planning from Princeton University, and a BA in Architecture with a Concentration in Economics (Statistics) from Barnard College, Columbia University. She recently completed her Doctor of Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, in collaboration with the Harvard Law School.

She is the faculty lead of Future Factory, a student-led research group and laboratory investigating the access and ownership of technological information that is distributed amongst the various private and public players within New York City.

And, was a co-editor of “Digital Property: Open Source Architecture,” published by John Wiley and Sons, as part of the AD journal series.

Emily has over 10 years of experience developing strategic fashion communication, marketing and brand strategies across the luxury, menswear and eyewear sectors, as well as four years of teaching experience in both full-time and adjunct academic positions at London College of Fashion and the University of Westminster. She has worked in-house as the PR and Marketing Manager for luxury eyewear brand Cutler and Gross and Harry’s of London and has worked in agencies and on a consultancy basis with brands including Victoria Beckham, Maison Martin Margiela, COS, Han Kjøbenhavn, Maison Kitsuné, Tomorrowland and Jonathan Saunders, developing press, content and social media strategy; managing influencer initiatives; managing retail marketing and experiential events; CRM; product and creative collaborations; and leading the creative direction of seasonal campaigns and branded moving image.

Emily also had the opportunity to manage the communication strategy for the AHRC-funded FIREup (Fashion, Innovation, Research and Enterprise) project, helping the UK designer sector promote their products, access new contacts and tap into academic/entrepreneurial expertise.

Her research explores the enterprise orientations of the Detroit fashion start-up sector; the effect of artistic collaborations on the brand image of luxury fashion brands; and challenging the definition of the branded aesthetic experience.

Jessica Corr is a product designer/consultant with expertise in high-end hospitality design. Clients include: Park Hyatt Shanghai, Park Hyatt Washington DC, Wolfgang Puck, Prada flagship Store, MGM Grand Hotels. Jessica’s work has been featured in exhibitions: Barcelona Forum 2004/Design 21 Social Design Network, The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial 2003, Surface: Ten Avant Guarde Industrial Designers, 2003 and in design publications: Dish, International Design, 2005, Graphis: Product 3, 2004, Inside Design Now, 2003. Jessica is a founding member of REAL (Research Education Art+Design Lab), a research Lab in the School of Design Strategies dedicated to bringing design-based education to NYC public schools.

Professor Cho has an extensive research background in consumer behavior, branding, innovation, and strategic management, and is also experienced in business consulting and entrepreneurial activities in these areas. She has published numerous research papers in top peer-reviewed journals in her fields, such as Journal of Retailing, Journal of Business Research, International Journal of Design, International Journal of Retailing and Distribution Management, Journal of Consumer Affairs, International marketing Review, Information and Management, and others. She has also carried out several funding and consulting activities, such as “Building Trust and Long-Term Relationships with Generation Y’s” for Filene Research Institute, Trust building strategy for financial products for A.C. Neilson Research Center, The Effect of Globalization of High-End Western Brands on the Diffusion of Design Capabilities to Foreign Suppliers in Partially Industrialized Countries by Design and Social Science Research Fund and so on. Professor Cho received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009, the most significant lifetime teaching award at New School, and is also an inaugural recipient of the Incubator venture funding from New School University based on her iPhone game application. She has served in various department and cross-divisional committees and collaborations, such as APT (Advanced Promotion and Tenure) committee, BBA curriculum committee, master’s program development committee, Fashion Curriculum Committee, institutional review board, design and social science committee, and many others. In addition, she has been contributing to various inter-organizational activities and has been an active member of several professional organizations in her fields.”

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