BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

Francesca Bellettini, Huda Kattan, Adut Akech, Michèle Lamy and Kalpona Akter Are the Latest Speakers for VOICES 2018

The five power women are the latest names to join an exciting and inspirational group of speakers at BoF's Annual Gathering for Big Thinkers to be held in Oxfordshire, UK later this month.
Francesca Bellettini, Huda Kattan, Adut Akech, Kalpona Akter and Michèle Lamy | Source: Courtesy
  • BoF Team
Article Sponsor

LONDON, United Kingdom — The Business of Fashion is pleased to reveal more speakers for VOICES, BoF's annual gathering for big thinkers, in partnership with QIC Global Real Estate which will be held from November 28 to December 1, 2018. We are also proud to announce that following our successful partnership over the past two years, McKinsey & Company will once again be the Exclusive Knowledge Partner for VOICES, as part of an ongoing partnership that has been extended until 2021.

In addition to speakers announced earlier this year — including Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie, designers Alber Elbaz and Stella McCartney, and Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights — this year's event will feature five powerful women leaders shaping the fashion and beauty industries from inside and out.

  • Francesca Bellettini is president and chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent and has overseen the legendary fashion house as it has grown beyond €1 billion in revenue.
  • Huda Kattan is the founder and chief executive of Huda Beauty, one of the fastest-growing beauty brands in the world, valued at over $1 billion.
  • Adut Akech was born during a journey from South Sudan to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and is now one fashion's most in-demand faces, appearing in advertising campaigns for Chanel, Moschino, Saint Laurent and Valentino.
  • Michèle Lamy is the multi-hyphenate entrepreneur, collaborator and partner of designer Rick Owens.
  • Kalpona Akter is a pioneering activist and figurehead in defending the rights of 4 million garment in Bangladesh.

To coincide with VOICES 2018, BoF and McKinsey will release The State of Fashion 2019, the third edition of an annual in-depth report providing a comprehensive business outlook for the fashion industry in the year ahead. The report will include rigorous analysis based on extensive qualitative and quantitative data including interviews with top industry executives and the McKinsey Global Fashion Index, a database of more than 500 companies that tracks industry sales as well as operating and economic profit.

Tickets for VOICES 2018 are sold out. The live-stream of all the talks on our main stage will be available exclusively for BoF Professional members.

Click here to join BoF Professional and gain access to our live-stream and members-only content. Please visit our VOICES website for complete details and learn more about our latest confirmed speakers below.

Francesca Bellettini is president and chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent and has overseen the legendary fashion house at a pivotal moment in its development. Since she joined in 2013, revenues have tripled, growing beyond the €1 billion threshold. Since the departure of Hedi Slimane, Bellettini has maintained the house's upward trajectory with current creative director  Anthony Vaccarello, who joined in April 2016. Bellettini joined Saint Laurent from Bottega Veneta, where she oversaw merchandising, visual display and communications and was instrumental in the brand's repositioning and popularity in emerging markets. Prior to Bottega Veneta, she was a merchandising director at Gucci, operations manager at Helmut Lang and has held various positions at Prada. Bellettini earned a degree from Bocconi University in Milan.

Huda Kattan is the founder and chief executive of Huda Beauty, one of the fastest-growing beauty brands in the world with a valuation of over $1 billion. A Hollywood-trained makeup artist who has worked with celebrities including Eva Longoria and Nicole Richie, Huda launched her blog,, in 2010, which eventually led to YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts of the same name. Today her Instagram account is the 60th most followed in the world, with nearly 28 million Instagram followers. With support from her sisters, Huda launched Huda Beauty in February 2013 with a collection of hand-designed false eyelashes that were sold at Sephora Dubai Mall. She has since created textured eyeshadow palettes, foundation, liquid lipsticks, lip contouring pencils and 3D highlighter palettes — all of which have been instant bestsellers across the globe. In the UK, Huda Beauty is stocked in Selfridges, Harrods, Cult Beauty, Feel Unique and Net-a-Porter. Kattan graduated from the University of Michigan.

Adut Akech is currently one of the fashion industry's most in-demand faces. South Sudanese Akech was born during a journey to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. Having spent her earliest days as a refugee, Akech and her family eventually emigrated to Adelaide, Australia, where she enrolled as a student and later joined a local modelling agency. In 2016, she was cast as a global exclusive for Anthony Vaccarello's debut Saint Laurent show. To date, Akech has featured in campaigns for brands such as Chanel, Moschino, Saint Laurent and Valentino. She has also appeared on the covers or within the pages of American Vogue, British Vogue, Italian Vogue, Vogue Paris and Vogue Korea. Outside of her career in fashion, Akech has recently begun working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in order to promote causes that support refugees around the world.

Michèle Lamy is an entrepreneur, producer, collaborator, wife and business partner to Rick Owens. Within Owenscorp, Lamy functions as an instigator and special projects director. She works closely with the artisans on constructing the furniture as well as on Maison Objets and Hundrod, her collaboration with jewellery designer Loree Rodkin. In 2014, Lamy created "Lamyland," an umbrella term for her own creative projects and endeavours. These include Bargel, Bargenale, Bargican at The Barbican Centre and "What are We Fighting For?" at the Selfridges department store in London. In 2017, Lamy formed the conceptual band, Lavascar, with the artist Nico Vascellari and her daughter Scarlett Rouge. Their first album, "A Dream Deferred" was released as part of the Paris Red Bull Music Festival in September 2017. Lavascar have subsequently performed at the Pompidou in Paris and the Triennale Milan. Their second album "Garden of Memory" was released by the Vinyl Factory, October 2018. In her own right, Michele recently performed as an opening act to Christeene at the notorious German club Berghain in September 2018.

Kalpona Akter is the founder and executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS), where she campaigns for worker safety, fair wages and the right to labour unions. Akter has been a key player in urging Western brands to sign on to the Bangladesh Safety Accord following the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 and her US Congress testimony helped frame legislation against slave-labour conditions for clothing. She began working at garment factories in her native Bangladesh aged 12, and since 2000 has devoted herself to trade unions and activism for 4 million textile and garment workers in the country, becoming a target for factory owners and the country's politicians. While international pressure has helped lessen the dangers, in 2012 unknown assailants abducted, tortured and killed Akter's colleague and labour union organiser Aminul Islam.

Rebecca Barkin is senior director of Magic Leap Studios Strategy and Partnerships, playing a critical role in delivering a diverse portfolio of experiences that expertly illustrate the potential of mixed reality. Engaging with a range of partners across music, film, fashion, cause and education, Barkin pursues concepts that inspire creators and consumers, and challenges technology. For the launch of Magic Leap One, she led a collaboration with Sigur Rós to develop Tónandi — an interactive audio-visual experience. Most recently, she teamed up with Magic Leap XCap Studio and Royal Shakespeare Company in the reimagining of Seven Ages of Man, an exploration of how volumetric capture and abstract digital sets combine to breathe new life into old classics. Prior to Magic Leap, Rebecca spent over 15 years leading on creative, strategy and partnerships at various technology and entertainment companies. Barkin attended Carnegie Mellon University.

Rachna Bhasin is the chief business officer of Magic Leap, charged with overseeing strategic business and corporate development. Her many responsibilities include general business development, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining Magic Leap, she served as senior vice president of corporate strategy and business development at SiriusXM Radio in New York. Bhasin has also held positions at Dell, Inc. where she led the company's strategic partnerships and personalisation and at EMI Music North America as vice president of business development. Bhasin serves on the board of directors for Ryman Hospitality Properties and plays a role on the strategic advisory council for Mouse. A current member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Bhasin has previously served on the board for the Grammy Foundation. Bhasin received her MBA from Harvard Business School and is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Joshua Graham Lynn is the co-founder and managing director of RepresentUs, a campaign of conservatives, moderates and progressives working together to fix America's corrupt political system. RepresentUs advocates for state and local laws, often by using the ballot initiative process, that are based on model legislation called the American Anti-Corruption Act. It is a proposal to overhaul lobbying, transparency and campaign finance laws. As a creative director, his work was honoured by the Rebrand 100 Awards, the Webby Awards, the American Package Design Awards, and the ADDYs. Josh has launched and managed numerous international brands and has developed membership and consumer outreach campaigns for organisations ranging from credit unions to progressive communities. Graham Lynn graduated from Keene State College.

Lucie Greene is global director of J. Walter Thompson's futures think tank and consultancy. She leads the company's research into emerging global consumer behaviours, cultural changes and sector innovation, steering all content for its insights platform Greene steers thought leadership globally, working with The Innovation Group's units in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. She also consults with J. Walter Thompson's Fortune 500 clients on strategy. Greene is a contributor at Campaign, the Guardian, New York Daily News and the Financial Times. She has spoken at conferences including SXSW, Web Summit and The Next Web, as well as appearing on the BBC, Fox News and Bloomberg TV. Her debut book "Silicon States: The Power and Politics of Big Tech and What it Means for Our Future" was released in August 2018. Greene graduated from the University of Nottingham.

Bethann Hardison is a model, founder and advocate. She founded Bethann Management in 1984 and has helped guide the careers of some of the most prominent models of colour. She was also the founder of a watchdog, charity and networking group of models called the Black Girls Coalition in 1988. In 2013, Hardison also founded Balance Diversity, promoting racial consciousness in the fashion industry, which helped change common notions of beauty. In 2010, Hardison was named editor-at-large at Vogue Italia and in 2014 was honoured with the Council of Fashion Designers of America Founders Award. In 2017, Hardison was an Honouree of The Metropolitan Museum of New York, celebrating Diversity & Inclusion.

Ian Hogarth is an angel investor in over 40 startups, where the main focus of his investing is applied machine learning. He recently co-authored the State of AI report summarising major developments in machine learning over the past 12 months, arguing that rapid progress in machine learning will drive the emergence of a new kind of geopolitics, where AI policy will become the single most important area of government policy. Hogarth studied engineering at Cambridge University, graduating with first class honours. His Masters project was a computer vision system to classify breast cancer biopsy images. Hogarth then lived in Beijing and studied Mandarin for a year. He co-founded Songkick, the concert service that is used by 17 million music fans every month to discover concerts. He served as chief executive for eight years, scaling the business to $100 million in ticket sales and 120 employees.

Kerby Jean-Raymond is the creative director of New York-based label Pyer Moss, which continues to evolve its narrative from nostalgic themes to social commentary. Jean-Raymond describes the label as an "art project" or a "timely social experiment." The label came into prominence during the Spring/Summer 2016 season, when the show highlighted police brutality, referencing the Black Lives Matter movement through use of video, street art and fashion. Pyer Moss is sold limitedly and with no particular schedule at high-end boutiques worldwide. In 2018, the label collaborated on a collection with Reebok named "Reebok by Pyer Moss" as part of its newly announced partnership with the footwear giant. In March 2018, Pyer Moss was nominated for the CFDA's Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent for its Fall 2018 collection, which debuted to critical acclaim. Jean-Raymond graduated from Hofstra University.

Shiv Vikram Khemka is vice-chairman of Sun Group, a diversified global group, with both operating and investment companies active in areas including private equity, renewable energy, oil and gas, high technology, gold mining and real estate. The group has worked around the world from Latin America, West Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, Myanmar, Japan, China. It has been active in the Indian private equity sector with a series of private equity franchises that have collaborated with world class investment management companies such as Sequoia and Apollo. Khemka serves on a number of boards, including the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves on Yale University's President's Council on International Activities. He was elected a "Global Leader for Tomorrow" (GLT) at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1997 and has received numerous awards, including the "Wharton India Alumni Award," the "Dr Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award" by Tufts University, and the "Outstanding Contribution to Education Prize" by Wharton. Khemka received a BA from Brown University, an MBA from The Wharton School and Masters in International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Liv Little is a curator, audio producer, filmmaker and the editor-in-chief of gal-dem, a fledgling media empire ran exclusively by women of colour. Little founded gal-dem, which operates as an online and print magazine and puts on talks, events and workshops, in 2015. It aims to empower and support the creative work of young women of colour through breaking down tired stereotypes and thrusting their work and thoughts into mainstream discussion in a whitewashed media environment. Little is also a digital executive at the BBC and contributing editor for Elle UK. Born and raised in South East London, Little has written for the Guardian, Wonderland Magazine and gal-dem on a range of topics — from women seeking asylum in the UK, to interviews with women breaking down barriers in politics and the arts. She also works in TV and has just finished developing her first scripted comedy pilot.

Molly Logan is the co-founder of Irregular Labs, a Gen Z-owned and run think tank and studio, as well as School of Doodle, a non-profit that uses creativity to build confidence in teen girls. She has built a global network of Gen Zs working with clients like Mac Cosmetics, Target, Google, Frito-Lay, Reebok and Disney where she executive produced a School of Doodle series for Hulu. Prior to launching School of Doodle and Irregular Labs, Logan spent 15 years navigating the worlds of art & commerce at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Richard Avedon and FredThinks. She has produced first of their kind events that include Doug Aitken's public art project, Station to Station and Wired's WxD design conference as well as strategic and creative consulting for Sundance Institute and Film Festival, Mac Cosmetics, Comme des Garçons, Absolut, Google, Sephora, Airbnb, Art Basel, (Red) and Fiat.

DeRay McKesson is a civil rights activist, community organiser and the host of Crooked Media's podcast "Pod Save the People." He began his career as an educator and came to prominence for his role in documenting the Ferguson protests, the movement they birthed and for publicly advocating for justice and accountability for the victims of police violence and the end of mass incarceration. Mckesson has spoken at venues from the White House to the Oxford Union and appeared on TV shows across the political spectrum. He was named number 11 on Fortune's World's Greatest Leaders list and Harvard's Black Man of the Year in 2016, among many other accolades. He is a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement and the co-founder of Campaign Zero, a policy platform to end police violence. Mckesson is the author of "On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope", published this autumn. McKesson graduated from Bowdoin College.

Elise By Olsen is a publisher, editor and curator. Currently, she is the editor-in-chief of Wallet, a pocket-sized fashion commentary publication, aimed to start to a larger conversation on the fashion industry and how it operates and capitalises on us. Past issues have included interviews with Hussein Chalayan, Hywel Davies, Isabella Burley, Nick Knight and Joerg Koch. Prior to founding Wallet, Elise was internationally recognised as "the world's youngest editor-in-chief" at 13. Her first publication, Recens Paper is a renowned youth culture magazine, from which she has now resigned. Recens Paper was included in Highsnobiety's list of "the world's top 5 alternative fashion magazines" and ArtForum's "top 5 magazines of 2017". It has landed a place on the shelves of Tate Modern, Dover Street Market, 10 Corso Como, Palais de Tokyo, Colette and Opening Ceremony. Elise also works as a brand consultant, exhibition curator and university lecturer.

Lula Ososki is a writer, creative and consultant. Having made an early decision against going to university, she started writing for i-D at 17 before going on to work at London-based creative agency Superimpose, which has worked with Adidas, Burberry and Palace. At 18, Ososki was featured as part of the #dazedgeneration advocating for change in the education system. She has authored articles on making it in fashion without a degree, and life as a creative in London. Ososki now works as a creative director, consultant and is on the advisory board for Irregular Labs, a studio and incubator dedicated to building and bringing the insights, ideas and imaginations of girl and gender nonconforming Gen Zs to the world.

David Pemsel is the chief executive of the Guardian Media Group (GMG), responsible for leading GMG's commercial and financial business strategy. Pemsel is also chairman of GMG Ventures, a $50 million fund making early stage investments in innovative businesses in the media technology sector. In addition, he is a member of The Scott Trust, the owner of The Guardian. Pemsel joined Guardian News & Media (GNM) in 2011 and was appointed chief commercial officer in 2012. A year later he took on increased accountability for the GNM business in the newly-created role of deputy chief executive, and was appointed chief executive of GMG in 2015.  He is a non-executive director of The British Fashion Council and a voting member of BAFTA.

John Ridding is the chief executive of the Financial Times Group, one of the world's leading business news organisations recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Under his stewardship, the FT has expanded its global operations, successfully scaled and transformed its core business and acquired a number of companies that support its multichannel strategy, including Money-Media, Medley Global Advisors, Exec-Appointments, Assanka, Alpha Grid and most recently Longitude. Ridding has been the chief executive since June 2006, having been with the company for more than 20 years in both editorial and executive positions. Before taking up his current post, he was the editor and publisher of the Financial Times, Asia, as well as chairman of Pearson in Asia. Ridding attended Oxford University.

Nicolaia Rips is a writer and editor. Her first book, "Trying to Float," a collection of short chapters chronicling elementary-school growing pains against the backdrop of living in the Chelsea Hotel, was published by Scribners' in 2016 and won the ILA Children's and Young Adult's Book Award. Rips attended LaGuardia High School for Music and the Performing Arts and specialised in vocal music. She has guest lectured for The School of the New York Times and has been published by Beneficial Shock Magazine and BOMB Magazine. Her first screenplay, As They Slept, was purchased by Neon Heart Studies and has just been produced. Nicolaia grew up in New York City, and is now studying at Brown University.

Patrick Robinson is the founder and chief executive of Paskho, an e-commerce travel clothing brand that emphasises eco-friendly fabrics and fair labour. The brand contributes 1 percent of its annual sales to environmental causes. Over the last 25 years, Robinson transformed multiple iconic brands into profitable global companies in the US, Europe, and Asia. He led the turnaround of Giorgio Armani's ailing Le Collezioni line, which became profitable during his four-year tenure, and in 2007 joined Gap as executive vice president of design for Gap and Gapbody. Robinson oversaw all elements of design and marketing for Gap women's and men's apparel, accessories and intimates lines worldwide. He has also worked at Anne Klein, Perry Ellis, Paco Rabanne and Target. Robinson has co-chaired the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala with Oprah and Anna Wintour, and is married to Virginia Smith, Vogue's Fashion Director.

Ian Rogers is the chief digital officer of LVMH. Prior to joining LVMH, Rogers carved out an impressive career in the music tech industry, helping music businesses make the transition to online. Rogers arrived at Apple in 2014 after the company's $3 billion acquisition of Beats Music and headphone maker Beats Electronics. As senior director of Apple Music, Rogers spearheaded Apple's foray into music streaming services and was also instrumental in the creation of online radio station Beats 1. In 2015, LVMH appointed him to the newly created position of chief digital officer. Rogers jumped ship to LVMH with the intention of developing the conglomerate's online retail presence — a move many competing luxury players have interpreted as a signal to step up their own digital and e-commerce strategies. In July 2018, Rogers led the LVMH Luxury Lab at Paris' new Viva Technology show, bringing together almost 50 start-ups in the luxury sector. Rogers studied computer science at Indiana University.

Shahmir Sanni

Shahmir Sanni is a digital content strategist who, in March 2016, came forward with evidence that led to the biggest electoral scandal of modern Britain. His revelations uncovered that a Cambridge Analytica off-shoot, AIQ, was used by the official Leave campaign to cheat during the referendum. Some of those implicated include cabinet ministers like Boris Johnson and Theresa May's senior advisors. When the scandal was unearthed, Downing Street used their press office to out Sanni as a gay man. He came out to his family the same day, while his workplace fired him. He is now suing both the government and his former employer. Sanni grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and ran away with his mother to Britain in 2010, when he was 15 years old. He attended the University of East Anglia. Today, he is working on a feminist climate justice podcast, Mothers of Invention, hosted by the first female President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.

Ken Seiff is a venture capitalist, founder and investor. He is currently the managing partner at Blockchange Ventures, a venture fund focused on investing in blockchain companies. Seiff also founded Beanstalk Ventures, a venture fund focused on early stage retail technology companies, predominantly focused on B2B software for enterprise retailers. As a founder of in 1998, Seiff was one of the first to spot the opportunity offered by the internet to build a sophisticated online retailer. He continued to lead it as a public company until 2004. He then incubated and invested in startups and was an advisor to two divisions of Amazon. In 2009, he launched Poppin, which addressed the office supply market in a way that moved beyond the heavily commoditised model that dominated the space.

Rohan Silva is the co-founder of Second Home, a social enterprise that supports creativity, entrepreneurship and job creation in cities around the world. Silva was previously senior policy adviser to the former British prime minister David Cameron, where he worked across all areas of policy, but was particularly passionate about enterprise, innovation and technology. Silva was responsible for developing key initiatives aimed at improving the environment for enterprise in the UK, such as the entrepreneur visa, entrepreneur relief, angel investment tax breaks, the government's open data agenda, and the Hargreaves review of intellectual property. In addition, he created the government's Tech City initiative, which supports the growth of the technology cluster in East London. He was also responsible for creating the government's Life Science Strategy in 2011, as well as the follow-up strategy in 2012 focused on genomics and bioinformatics. Silva is a senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics — where he graduated from — an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Art and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

LaQuan Smith, born in Queens, New York, started his brand at the age of 21. Smith spent his early years being instructed by his grandmother, who instilled a passion and skill for sewing and pattern making. His distinctive work sparked interest among fashion icons and risk-takers including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, all of whom were early supporters of the designer. Since its formal debut in 2013, the brand has gained acclaim for its archive of distinctive garments and details. Smith has cultivated an equally dynamic private-order clientele that spans from Lagos to London. His aesthetic has also been tapped by brands including Heineken, Tidal, Samsung, Microsoft, and Verizon. Smith attended Nassau Community College.

Dr Nigma Talib, ND is a world-renowned naturopathic doctor who works with patients through using functional testing and treatments to create a personalised medical approach to optimise her patients' wellness plans and beauty regimes. Talibhas clinics in London and Los Angeles. She has clinics in London and Los Angeles and is a best-selling author of "Reverse the Signs Of Ageing." Talib has been awarded by the Princeton Global Professional and Business Leaders in recognition of her work, and has appeared in Vanity Fair and W Magazine. She has developed a skincare line as well as supplements with her teams in Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Talib is also a key note lecturer for various nutraceutical companies, where she educates hundreds of practitioners in natural and alternative health medicine globally. Talib graduated from Simon Fraser University and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

More from News & Analysis
Fashion News, Analysis and Business Intelligence from the leading digital authority on the global fashion industry.

view more

Subscribe to the BoF Daily Digest

The essential daily round-up of fashion news, analysis, and breaking news alerts.

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024
© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and Accessibility Statement.
BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024