KCD's Ed Filipowski


After 30 years at the helm of KCD, Ed Filipowski and Julie Mannion are shaking up the foundation of the fashion agency.

The company has elevated eight senior staffers to the role of partner. The move helps set up the firm for quicker “evolution,” said Filipowski who noted that the partners are well-versed in KCD’s culture, having worked there for 15 years on average. Filipowski and Mannion, who served as copresidents, now hold the title of co-chairman.

The new partners, who will have an ownership stake in KCD, include Renee Barletta (partner), Jarrad Clark (partner, director of creative services), Txampi Diz (partner, director of finance), Laurence Laure (partner, managing director of KCD Paris), Nan Richards (partner, managing director of KCD London), Rachna Shah (partner, managing director of pr and digital) and Kerry Youmans (partner).

“It’s something we have been thinking about for a while. Julie and I have been with the company for 30 years,” he said. “As owners of the company, we have to think about the next chapter.”

Although that kind of talk sounded like Filipowski was setting the table for his eventual retirement — there had been rumors a while ago that he and Mannion were looking to sell the company — he set the record straight.

“I’m not retiring anytime soon, neither is Julie,” he said. “This will be business as usual. When I’m in my 60’s that might be a different story.”

Filipowski, 55, said the new structure will help the company’s clients, which include just about every name in fashion — from Chanel and Cartier to Gucci, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton – navigate the mercurial industry.

“With how the industry is changing and evolving, there are new challenges and aspects to fashion that our clients have to face. They want leaders who have the authority to give them guidance on those changes,” he said.

Those challenges include understanding the see-now, buy-now movement in fashion, as well as how to best allocate resources in the difficult economy. From a publicity perspective, Filipowski said he’s working with clients to understand the media environment, and not only target digital fashion news and style sites.

Although digital is where most of the action is taking place, the executive said he advises his clients to employ a diversified strategy that includes print, digital and social media.

Founded in 1984 by Kezia Keeble, John Duka and Paul Cavaco, KCD, which has offices in New York, Paris and London, focuses on media relations, creative services, digital, entertainment and technology and consulting.

According to Filipowski, KCD will move to expand its presence in New York after it relocates its office from the Meatpacking District in December. Areas of potential growth will include digital, entertainment and technology and its group in London.

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