Brown Fashion Week has wrangled an impressive lineup for its first all-virtual event, which takes place March 4 to 22.
Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, Kenneth Cole, Steve Madden and Olivier Rousteing are among the featured speakers for the 11th annual Fashion@Brown event. Sessions will include a fireside chat between Patrice Louvet, chief executive officer of Ralph Lauren (and Brown Parent, Class of ‘22) and Isabelle Guichot, CEO of Maje.
Francesca Bellettini, CEO of Yves Saint Laurent, Emma Chamberlain and Olivia Palermo will be featured in other sessions. Costume designer Ruth E. Carter, the first Black costume designer to win an Oscar, will share her experiences within the fashion and film industries. There’s also a conversation among Rome-based designer Stella Jean, Brooklyn-based Fe Noel and Detroit-based Tracy Reese.
Cole will be interviewed by his daughter, Amanda Cole, Brown class of 2012 about shining a light on social issues. Another panel will be a discussion with editors such as Vanessa Friedman, chief fashion critic of The New York Times; Samantha Barry, editor in chief of Glamour, and Chioma Nnadi, editor of Vogue.com.
The event’s finale will be the 11th annual Runway Show on March 26 at 7 p.m., live-released as a YouTube film showcasing the creations of various student designers. Fashion@Brown was unable to hold an in-person fashion show, due to restrictions on club activities this spring.
According to Sasha Pinto, president of Fashion@Brown, rounding up the guest speakers was no easy task.
“We were astonished and humbled by the positive response we received to our invitations to speak at Brown Fashion Week this year,” said Pinto. “We wanted to make Brown Fashion Week bigger than ever to spread some much needed inspiration to students given the extreme isolation everyone has been experiencing — and the fashion industry responded in overwhelming numbers. It is a tribute not only to the kindness and generosity of the individual speakers, but to the industry in general.”
“We were turned down 25 times for every time we got a yes,” Pinto told WWD. She said it was a lot of cold calling, letter writing and emailing. “We wanted to make Brown Fashion Week really big [this year] and give back to the school,” she said. Asked if Brown has a big fashion emphasis, she laughed, “No, not at all, there’s no fashion anything.” She said they established Brown Fashion Week 11 years ago to help people interested in fashion and started inviting speakers.
The event, which is the first time it’s operated virtually since its creation, is free and open to students and others around the world. It is not limited to the Brown University community.