Fashion and Retail in 2021 and Beyond: Post-COVID Reality and Where to Go From Here

February 10, 2021

5:30 pm



7:00 pm


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Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic of 2020, innovative leaders in fashion and retail industry are already taking steps to redefine the future of the industry. Join us for an evening of engaging discussion between industry leaders.

This event is presented in partnership with New York City Bar Association’s Fashion Law Committee and Council on Intellectual Property.

Nicole Reader, CEO of Modern Mirror

Nicole Reader is the Founder and CEO of Modern Mirror, with offices in New York City and, imminently, London. She has a diverse and dynamic background in the fashion industry, ranging from modeling to clothing design, pattern making and styling, to visual merchandising and marketing for major retailers, producing and directing runway shows and launching her own luxury fashion import-export company. She has formed three start-ups over the duration of her career, gaining experience as a consultant and marketing specialist for a wide variety of companies and services, including commercial development.

After several years of working in the fashion industry, Nicole observed inefficient operating processes, and a crucial need in the industry that wasn’t being met. She always knew that fashion and technology would inevitably be intertwined; she began Modern Mirror in 2008, recognizing the hybridization of these industries long before others caught on.

Over the past 12 years, Nicole’s practice and gained knowledge has made her an expert in e-commerce, retail-and-technology experiences, virtual fittings, cyber security in the fashion space, and brand investment strategies. She has been a featured guest on Bloomberg Businessweek and featured in Forbes. Nicole has advised labels on the types of technologies to integrate into their operations, digital platforms and in-store experiences and to capitalize on deploying such systems while staying true to their art form. With the launch of Modern Mirror’s new product suite—which reflects over a decade’s worth of research and development—she brings an extensive knowhow to the global market.  

Additionally, Reader chairs a youth foundation in her native Vancouver, which works to give academic scholarships to outstanding students, as well as funding other charitable youth causes.

Matthew Growney, Managing Partner & Creative Director of THERMAL Brands

Matthew has become a well-known and successful investor and creative director for his understanding of design-conscious products, brands and services, for the luxury and lifestyle markets. Through his brand consultancy, THERMAL BRANDS, Matthew consults to dozens of clients within the Fashion, Beauty/Wellness, Food, and Home/Hospitality categories. He has designed exclusive products and consumer experiences (installations, presentations, charity events, concerts, Popups) for such events including the NBA Draft, Art Basel, CES, ComplexCon, KidzCon, Paris Fashion Week, NY Fashion Week, and Formula One.

Since February 2016, Matthew has served as Senior Advisor and Head of Special Projects to PUMA on Technology, Culture, & Fashion. He is involved in selecting new designer candidates, strategic corporate partnerships, retail design, product innovation, sustainability, and consumer experiences. He is also serving as the Creative Director for PUMA x YOU, the new customization studio within the NYC flagship retail store where he is responsible for programming new artists and designers for customers to interact and engage with on custom-design projects.

Matthew graduated from Michigan State University (BA ‘95), where he serves on the Board of the Center for Venture Capital, Private Equity, & Entrepreneurial Finance at the Broad School of Business, and New England School of Law | Boston (JD ‘00).

Roopa Pemmaraju, Founder & Designer, Roopa Pemmaraju

Roopa Pemmaraju grew up in Bengaluru, India, where she studied fine arts before moving to Australia and earning her master’s degree in fashion and textiles.

She was always drawn to color, texture, and design, but eager for a way to combine those passions with social justice and human empowerment. Roopa first launched her label in Melbourne as a collaboration with Indigenous Australian artists, and remains committed to the dignity of maker communities around the globe.

In 2016, Roopa arrived in the United States, and today she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She’s proud to offer beautiful, ethically made clothing and accessories for women of the world.

Moderated by Ariele Elia, Assistant Director, Fashion Law Institute

Ariele Elia is currently the Assistant Director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law. Previously, she served as the Assistant Curator of Costume and Textile at the Museum at FIT for seven years, where she curated or co-curated a number of exhibits including: "Faking It: Originals, Copies, and Counterfeits," “Global Fashion Capitals,” and "Black Fashion Designers.” Elia recently developed the course Cultural Awareness, Design Responsibility, and the Law at FIT. She has lectured internationally at the United Nations, Oxford, and Columbia Law. In January the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal published her note “Fashion's Destruction of Unsold Goods: Responsible Solutions for an Environmentally Conscious Future”. Her latest chapter, “Dapper Dan: The Original Streetwear Influencer,” will be published in the upcoming book Black Designers in American Fashion in 2021. Elia received a M.S.L. in Fashion Law from Fordham University School of Law. She also holds an M.A. in Fashion and Textile: History, Theory, and Museum Practices from FIT, and a B.A. in Art History from Saint Mary’s College of California.


Cristina Dolan - MITEF NYC, Chair Emeritus

Engineer, computer scientist, entrepreneur and MIT alumna, Cristina Dolan is a successful builder of products and businesses enabled by data and connectivity, powered by next generation business models. Throughout her career she has lead product management and driven growth through sales, business development and execution of strategic alliances. She has been honored with numerous awards and recognition as a thought leader in advanced technologies which include blockchain, data, AI, cyber and fintech.


Jim Klaiber - MITEF NYC, Chair Emeritus

Jim Klaiber is Counsel in the Intellectual Property Group of Hughes Hubbard & Reed.  His practice is focused on patent litigation, prosecution, and transactions, including telecommunication, electronic healthcare, data protection, medical device, automotive, semiconductor, and packaging technologies.  He is a former AT&T Bell Laboratories Member of Technical Staff, where his work included research and development of high speed undersea cable systems.

Jim has mechanical engineering degrees from MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, and his law degree is from Fordham University Law School.  He is the current Chair of the New York City  Bar Association’s Council on Intellectual Property, and is a board member and former Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City.

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