2016 CAFATM Mentors
CAFA is thrilled to provide a mentorship program to benefit the 2016 winners of The Swarovski Emerging Talent Award, Fashion, The Swarovski Emerging Talent Award, Accessories and The Fashion Design Student Award. The talented and successful professionals below have agreed to generously donate both time and expertise throughout the year to help these designers grow their brand and their business by providing assistance in critical business areas including Public Relations, Branding, Marketing, Finance, Distribution, and Digital support.
Thank you to all of our mentors for their ongoing commitment, dedication and support of the Canadian fashion Industry.
Ashlee Froese - CAFA Mentor
Partner - Fogler, Rubinoff LLP
Ashlee is a partner at Fogler, Rubinoff LLP and practices fashion and branding law. She is recognized as a Certified Specialist by the Law Society of Upper Canada. She currently holds a 3 year term as co-chair of the Toronto Chapter of Fashion Group International, and is a mentor with Toronto Fashion Incubator and an advisor with the Ryerson Fashion Zone. She is a published author and regular guest speaker on fashion law throughout North America. Ashlee took a lead role in petitioning the Ontario government to provide cultural funding for the fashion industry.
Miriam Zittell - CAFA Mentor
Designer | Entrepreneur
Toronto born, Mcgill and Parsons School of Design educated Miriam Zittell honed her unique design, development and production skill in New York City. Miriam gained experience through increasingly demanding roles at J Crew, Helmut Lang and Theory. Her work across style and fabric research and development, merchandising, and concept design (fortunately) required time on the ground in Europe and Los Angeles.
At Theory, Miriam served as Design Director working closely with Olivier Theyskens applying innovative technologies to contemporary and runway collections. Now Toronto based, Miriam is focusing her design entrepreneurial spirit to a unique retail concept, mellah.ca, while continuing to consult for select established and start-up labels.
Natasha Koifman - CAFA Mentor
President NKPR Inc. Toronto | New York
Natasha Koifman created NKPR in 2002 in order to combine her two passions: shining a spotlight on stories of substance and exploring unchartered fashion territories. Under Natasha’s guidance and leadership, NKPR has established itself as a highly regarded full-service marketing, digital media and public relations agency, representing over 30 national and international brands including Mulberry, Mikhael Kale, Kiehl’s, essie, Liu Jo, Tweezerman, Rudsak, Jones New York, Stella & Dot and more.
Natasha has been recognized by the industry for her acute public relations’ expertise and her authoritative commentary on popular culture as a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Entertainment Tonight Canada among others. As one of the first tastemakers to be featured on the internationally renowned fashion platform, The Coveteur, her signature high-style aesthetic has been profiled in leading publications including FASHION, the Globe and Mail, Canadian Living, Chatelaine, NOW Magazine, and many more.
With the belief that PR can help forge meaningful fashion industry relationships, Natasha is dedicated to supporting bourgeoning young designers. Natasha currently splits her time between her homes in Toronto and New York City.
Paulo Leone - CAFA Mentor
The Community, Vice President, Strategy
Originally from Brazil, Paulo is one of those rare marketing professionals who are just as strong on the strategic side and the creative front. A design lover and photography enthusiast, he started his career client side at TELUS, where he learned everything about the power of consistent branding and differentiated design. Since then, he has moved to the agency side and for the last 10 years has developed brand strategies and creative platforms for some of the top brands in North America, including Rogers, McDonald’s, Chrysler, CIBC, LCBO, Canada Post, Unilever, and Labatt USA. He gets brand essences like no one else, and knows exactly how to bring brands to life in a way that is ownable, differentiated, and purposeful. Most recently, he took a long break and went on a personal journey through the 11 countries of Southeast Asia, from Myanmar all the way to East Timor. Now he is back, recharged, inspired, and ready to help unleash the brand potential of Canadian talent in the arts and fashion industry, all while having a lot of fun. Get ready, amazing things await!
Richard Simons - CAFA Mentor
Simons, Vice President, Merchandising
Born in 1967 in Quebec City to Gordon Donald Simons and Barbara Lynn Schneider, Richard Simons represents the fifth generation to lead and continue the vision of this fashion-focussed family company.
After his studies in Business Administration at the University of New Brunswick, he began his career in 1989 in the retail fashion business as a buyer for Simons. After working his way up through the ranks, Richard took over the family business with his brother Peter in 1996 as Vice President of Merchandising.
With his constant travels around the world, Richard is always surprised by the constant and fast evolution in fashion. He is always looking for design inspirations and latest trends to keep the business current and relevant to stay ahead of competitors. From his front row seat at the major fashion shows in Paris, Milan, and New York, Richard is always on the watch for new ideas, new creative talent, and collections for the coming fashion season. Having the best brands from around the world and recognizing the importance of managing partnerships and relationships has always been something that Richard believes is a key success factor for Simons.
Personally, Richard is passionate about traveling, skiing, hockey, and the outdoors.
Simons has over 2,500 employees, a state-of-the-art distribution centre and 11 stores: nine in Quebec (three in Quebec City, including its headquarters in Old Quebec, plus Montreal, Anjou, Laval, St. Bruno, Sherbrooke, Gatineau); one in Edmonton, Alberta; and one in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Under both Peter and Richard's leadership, Simons will continue its Canadian expansion in 2016 and beyond. New locations open at Square One in March 2016 and Rideau Centre in August 2016.
Suzanne Timmins - CAFA Mentor
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND FASHION DIRECTOR HUDSON’S BAY AND LORD & TAYLOR
Suzanne Timmins is Senior Vice President and Fashion Director of Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor where she is responsible for the fashion and trend direction for both banners. Under her leadership, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor have become top destinations for men’s and women’s fashion, accessories, shoes and home.
A seasoned fashion executive Ms. Timmins’ illustrious 25-year career has spanned diverse retail environments, ranging from luxury retailers, department stores and mass consumer chains.
Ms. Timmins led the development of the highly acclaimed 2010 Olympic collection for Hudson’s Bay, one of the most successful collections for the brand. She also pioneered the revitalization and re-launch of Hudson’s Bay’s Company collection.
Creating unique retail concepts is the foundation of her career and her ability to spot the new and the innovative readily lends itself to the discovery and acquisition of the best international designer labels. Her acute ability to determine what is relevant, current and fashionable contributes to a world-class shopping experience for Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor customers.
A definitive voice of fashion, Ms. Timmins is consistently profiled by the international fashion media including WWD and Harper’s Bazaar and is also a trusted commentator on design and style. An advocate of new design talent, Suzanne has lent her time to a number of initiatives including sitting on the jury of Andam, the British Fashion Awards nominating committee and TFI New Labels competition.
Tyler Udall - CAFA Mentor
Photographic Artist & Fashion Director, Blanche Macdonald
Tyler Udall's extensive career in the worlds of fashion and fine art spans over the last fifteen years. After an early retirement from a career as a professional ballet dancer, Tyler attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. While there, began working with fashion front man Marc Jacobs. In 2003 Tyler launched his career as an international stylist and creative consultant in London England where he was the Senior Fashion Editor for Another Man Magazine, AnOther Magazine and Dazed and Confused.
Whilst there, he consulted for a plethora of fashion houses, publications and celebrities: J. Lindberg, Nike, Edwin, Levi's, Sonia Rykiel, M.I.A, Joaquin Pheonix and The Verve to L'Officiel, The Globe and Mail, Dazed Japan, Le Magazine Double and The Daily Telegraph. Tyler then returned to New York City where he was the Creative Director at Fred and Associates/ Fred Thinks. In 2010 he returned to his native Canada where he became the Executive Director of HOBO Magazine. That same year he began working at Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver BC, where he is currently Fashion Director. Tyler Udall is also a revered photographic artist with gallery representation in London England at The Little Black Gallery and New York City with Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art.
His photographs of celebrities, fashion and fine art have been featured in several prolific publications around the world from AnOther Magazine, US Elle, DuJour Magazine to Dazed and Confused and the Sunday Times Magazine.
Tyler was on the inaugural jury for the CAFAs and is the Head of Fashion at School of Doodle where he also sits on the advisory board.