Christopher S. West, Partner & Managing Director of TRAUB-Leader, Claire Chambers, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Journelle, Norma Kamali, Chief Executive Officer of Fashion Designer & Wellness Advocate for Normal Kamali Inc., and Michael Kaplan, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Fashion to Figure Stores, discuss how beauty brands can do things differently.
Claire Chambers is the founder and CEO of Journelle. After a successful career in management consulting, Claire’s love of designer lingerie and entrepreneurial spirit led her to the lingerie retail business. Claire is passionate about bringing the momentum and excitement of fashion to the lingerie world, and has been featured as an expert on InStyle, Nylon and ‘Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.’
Known as an innovative designer who follows her own path, Norma Kamali is as passionate about
creating timeless, influential pieces now as she was when she began her career more than 40 years ago.
Her inventive perspective has resulted in designs such as the iconic “Sleeping Bag Coat,” as well as a
collection made from actual parachutes. She was the mastermind behind packable, multi-use clothing
that can worn up to 30 different ways.
Ms. Kamali distributes her own line, OMO Made in the USA, to
specialty stores around the world.
Combining new technology and fashion has always been a fascination for Ms. Kamali. She was the first
designer to create a virtual online store on eBay.
The Norma Kamali iPhone app, introduced in 2009, and
Scanlife technology allow customers to shop from her flagship store’s window and throughout the store
using 2D barcodes. Customers can scan the styles they want and have orders shipped overnight as part
of the “Try Before You Buy” service on normakamali.com.
Ms. Kamali has received numerous awards for fashion design, architecture design, interior design, the
creation of fashion video short stories and community public service. She has a plaque on the Fashion
Walk of Fame.
In 2010, Norma received an honorary doctorate degree of fine arts from the Fashion Institute of
Technology (FIT). In November 2010, she was honored as one of WWD’s “100 Designers Who Shaped
Fashion.” In 2011, the red Norma Kamali swimsuit that helped make Farrah Fawcett a 1970’s icon was
donated to the Smithsonian.
Michael Kaplan is Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fashion To Figure Stores (FTF). FTF is a trendy, full-fashion shopping experience focused exclusively on women sizes 12-26. FTF provides chic, up-to-the-minute apparel and related accessories at fast fashion prices with personal service in an uplifting store environment.
With both brick and mortar locations and an online store serving an international customer base, Time Out New York and Westchester Magazine have named FTF “Best Plus-Sized Fashion Store.” FTF has been featured in numerous publications, including Vanity Fair,Lucky, Oprah, and Seventeen and on shows such as Today, Nightline, Jerseylicious, and The Glam Fairy.
Mr. Kaplan and his brother Nicholas founded FTF to be the premier full-fashion shopping experience, a premise originated more than 112 years ago by their great-grandmother, Lena Bryant—whose namesake company is still widely recognized today.
Mr. Kaplan previously co-founded an online community and shopping portal for full-figured women that Charming Shoppes purchased in 2000. Prior to that, he served as a Venture Capitalist with RRE Ventures and as a financial analyst at Lazard Frères in New York.
He was named one of Chain Store Age's 40 under 40 Rising Retail Stars in 2006 and has been a featured guest speaker at The Fashion Institute of Technology and The Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. Through his business, he actively supports The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Mr. Kaplan studied jazz saxophone at The Manhattan School of Music. He is a graduate of Brown University and holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.
Christopher West serves as Managing Director of Marvin Traub Associates. Mr. West joined the company in March 2012, bringing expertise in brand building, business development, finance, media, technology, and entrepreneurship.
Prior to joining Marvin Traub Associates, Mr. West founded CS West International Corporation in 2008. The firm focused on operational management, revenue generation and business development for new and rapid-growth brands and companies. Clients included a global clientele of financial institutions, startups, technology, talent, beauty, and creative companies.
Prior to founding CS West International, Mr. West was Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Zac Posen. Prior to Zac Posen, Mr. West spent nearly 10 years at Procter & Gamble, most recently as a Vice President of Marketing, where he held global responsibility for many luxury beauty brands.