Saint Louis Fashion Fund

Jurors

meet the 2015-2016 juror panel

James LaForce

James LaForce

co-founder of LaForce + Stevens

As co-founder of LaForce + Stevens and a highly-regarded media and communications consultant, James LaForce directs a range of communications programs across the agency’s diverse client roster.  With a nimble approach, he blends business savvy with an insatiable enthusiasm for the trends and temperaments of the ever-changing media landscape. LaForce was raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and studied English literature and writing at Columbia University.  Early in his career, he was fortunate enough to be mentored by the legendary fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, who is often credited with putting American fashion on the global map.

Over the years, he has guided and shaped campaigns for Gianfranco Ferre, OMEGA, Yves St. Laurent, Perry Ellis, Banana Republic, Tracy Reese, Swarovski Crystal and 3M.  LaForce is instrumental in promoting Target’s ground-breaking collaborations with top designers such as Alexander McQueen and Missoni.

tomoko ogura

tomoko ogura

senior fashion director, Barneys new york

Tomoko Ogura is the senior fashion director at Barneys New York. Ogura herself was born in New Jersey but moved to Japan when she was 11 years old. She began her career at Barneys New York straight out of college as an assistant in the fashion office, and rose to become the fashion director of women’s Co-Op, Barneys’ lower-priced concept store.

As the fashion director, Ogura is the set of eyes for Barneys. She is continuously observing, searching and discovering designers, collections and trends. Through an intimate collaboration with the merchant team, she guides and directs the vision of the store with regards to fashion and product. Much of Ogura’s time is spent in showrooms and meeting people to better understand what is happening in the overall market and from there what is potentially relevant to Barneys.

Fern Mallis

Fern Mallis

founder of New York Fashion Week

Fern Mallis is president of her own international fashion and design consultancy, Fern Mallis LLC. With approximately 40 years of experience in the architecture, design and fashion industries, Fern Mallis is a pioneer of the fashion industry as we know it today. Serving as the Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) from 1991-2001, she also created 7th on Sixth productions or New York Fashion Week as it is known today. She was also Senior Vice President of IMG Fashion from 2001 to 2010. She is currently President of her own international fashion and design consultancy, Fern Mallis LLC.

Roopal Patel

consultant

Roopal Patel

President, roopal patel consulting

Roopal Patel’s experience and expertise speaks to the multifaceted approach necessary to succeed in today’s global marketplace. She spent many years working in luxury retailing as Senior Fashion Director at Bergdorf Goodman and as Senior Fashion Director for its parent company, Neiman Marcus, where she broadened her expertise, learning how luxury works beyond major cities. As an early adapter, Miss Patel has had her fingers on the pulse of new media, learning how best to use the Internet to benefit her clients. As a result, she is a trusted source for the media and is regularly quoted as a fashion industry insider by such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue India and Vogue Japan.

lisa perry

lisa perry

designer

American designer Lisa Perry’s passion for clothing and art dates back to as early as the late 1960s and early 1970s. Having deep family roots in the textile industry, Lisa always knew her future rested in fashion. As a young adult, Lisa moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology where she immersed herself in studies of textiles, color theory and art. Lisa began making custom dresses and clothing in October of 2006 for friends out of her loft in SoHo. Now, Lisa’s brand has grown into a complete women’s clothing line, as well as accessories, chidren’s wear, and home products. Over the decades, Lisa’s design aesthetic demonstrates clean lines, geometric shapes, bold colors and minimalism.

In addition to Perry’s ready-to-wear line, Lisa is also a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). In her free time, Lisa continues to built her personal art collection with some of the most notable works by Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Roy Litchenstein.

gary wassner

gary wassner

Co-CEO of Hilldun Corporation

Hilldun Corporation, the company behind many of Seventh Avenue’s most prestigious fashion companies, has provided financing and factoring for many of America’s most iconic designer labels. Recently named one of Fashionista’s 50 Most Influential People in Fashion, Gary is also a writer, a member of the CFDA Advisory Board, a mentor for the CFI Incubator program, a member of Senator Gillibrand’s Fashion Industry Working Group and a passionate supporter of the Save The Garment Center.

debra bass

debra bass

Fashion Editor of St. Louis Post Dispatch

Debra Bass, Fashion Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch A native of Las Vegas, Debra has made St. Louis her home for 11 years. She writes a weekly column on fashion, beauty and the culture surrounding personal aesthetics. She developed the Made in St. Louis feature for the Post-Dispatch and will be expanding it this fall. She produces regular fashion editorials and produces a weekly fashion video series called “#STLStreetStyle” for her award-winning blog, Deb’s Style File. Last year, she received honors from The Society of Features Journalism for 2014 best blog and Editor & Publisher presented her with a 2014 Eppy Award best blog in a division with over one million monthly unique visitors.