Board of Advisors
James LaForcePrincipal, LaForce + Stevens
A highly-regarded marketing communications executive, Jame LaForce represents some of the world’s best known brands in fashion, retail and consumer packaged goods.
Over the years, LaForce has shaped media campaigns for Gianfranco Ferre, Yves St. Laurent and Perry Ellis and represented the Council of Fashion Designers of America in a new number of key initiatives and events. Early in his career, he was mentored by the legendary fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, who is often credited with putting American fashion on the global map.
LaForce recently appeared as a judge on Lifetime Network’s popular show “24 Hour Catwalk,” a competition show for emerging designers. LaForce is on the board of Fashion Group International and he regularly lectures on fashion and the public relations industry at Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts. In 2011 LaForce was named “Publicist of the Year” by BizBash.
Jeannine D’OnofrioExecutive Vice President of Production, Tommy Hilfiger
Jeannine D’Onofrio is the Executive Vice President of Production for Tommy Hilfiger North America, where she is responsible for overseeing sourcing, production, development, compliance, quality control and technical services for all of Tommy Hilfiger North America. Jeannine joined the company in 2004 as Senior Vice President of Production for Tommy Hilfiger Retail (parent company PVH).
Prior to joining PVH, Jeannine served as Vice President of Production for Nautica Enterprises. With more than 23 years of experience, Jeannine has held various positions in production with Polo Ralph Lauren including Senior Director of Operations, Knits & Sweaters and Director of Operations for Knits, as well as with Liz Claiborne, Inc. as Director of Production for Menswear.
Jeannine graduated from William Paterson University with a degree in Business Administration.
Suzanne KingVice President of Merchandising, Little Black Bag
Suzanne King is a seasoned merchant with experience in many fashion areas including handbags, jewelry, accessories, gifts, cosmetics, & home. She currently holds the post of DMM/VP of Merchandising at fashion start-up Little Black Bag, where she has built the buying office from the ground up.
Prior to joining Little Black Bag, Suzanne spent 13 years at the Macy’s corporate office in NYC. Suzanne spent 6 years as a retail planner in various areas, including small leather goods & gifting, fashion jewelry, & fine gold jewelry. She then transitioned to the buying office, where she served as the buyer for trend fashion jewelry, fashion accessories & contemporary handbags. She also launched the “G Shop”, a unique, forward-thinking curated gifting concept that launched at Macy’s for holiday 2010.
She has been lucky enough to travel for work to London, Paris, Los Angeles, & Tokyo for fashion and creative inspiration over her career.
Kay Unger PitmanFashion Designer
Until 2012, Kay Unger was the creative head of Phoebe Company and its brands Kay Unger New York, Phoebe Couture, Unger by Kay Unger and Kay J’s by Kay Unger, which began by offering women colorful alternatives to the little black dress. The $40 million company’s dresses, suits and eyewear are currently sold in more than 24 countries. Kay now focuses on her philanthropic efforts.
Prior to starting the brands in which most bear her name, Kay graduated from The Parson’s New School for Design and then worked as one of three apprentices for Geoffrey Beene. In 1972, along with her two business partners, Kay founded The Gillian Group, becoming one of the largest suppliers of women’s apparel in America. They grew into a $125 million company.
Kay is an active member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and serves on the Board of Directors as well as a Trustee at Parsons/The New School For Design. Kay has been a longtime member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, of which she also served as the first woman board member. She is a board and founding member of The Committee of 200, an organization that advances women’s leadership in business, and the Women’s Campaign Fund. A cancer survivor herself, Kay has a personal interest in funding cancer research and has raised over $250,000 for cancer research. Today, she continues her efforts working with Stand Up To Cancer and has been recognized by City of Hope as a "Spirit of Life Award" recipient.
Melissa MagsaysayFashion Journalist
Melissa Magsaysay is a fashion journalist and L.A Times Best Selling author. Melissa served as the style editor at the Los Angeles Times covering trends, beauty, celebrity and the red carpet. Prior to the LA Times, she was the west coast fashion editor at Women’s Wear Daily, and her articles and “Your Stylist” column for the LA Times were syndicated to mass appeal.
In May 2012, Melissa’s first book, “City of Style: Exploring Los Angeles Fashion from Bohemian to Rock” was released with Harper Collins and has garnered press in Women’s Wear Daily, Style.com, Glamour, Racked LA, Nylon and Refinery 29. She recently started her second book, a how-to style tome about channeling your inner movie star, pens a bi-monthly column for Angeleno Magazine and is a contributing editor to Shopzilla lifestyle site, beso.com, Foam Magazine and glo.com.
In addition to her print stories, Melissa shares style tips, red carpet commentary and trends stories on the Style Network’s Style Star, Access Hollywood, KTLA Sunday Night News, NPR and NY Live.