Student Organizers Line Up Impressive Guest List for First Michigan Fashion Media Summit


Leaders and influencers from the biggest brands in the fashion industry are convening at the first-ever Michigan Fashion Media Summit on Friday, April 13 at Michigan Ross.

Speakers and attendees hail from powerhouse brands such as, Steve Madden, Michael Kors, Marie Claire, and others––it’s a pretty impressive list.

University of Michigan students Ali Gropper, Rachel Roth, and Ryan Walker came up with the idea for the summit, and working together with a team of 40 students over five months, organized Friday’s event. More than 500 industry members and students have registered.

The goal was to model the summit similar to the Michigan Sport Business Conference, according to Walker, an LSA student who is also pursuing the Ross Minor in Business. “Our mission is to inspire and educate the next generation of fashion industry leaders by connecting them to creative and professional opportunities across the retail world,” Walker said. “The Michigan Fashion Media Summit is the premier platform for college students and industry professionals to collaborate and shape the future fabric of fashion.”

Speakers and moderators include:

  • Gary Sheinbaum, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Americas
  • David Cho, Director, Partnership Activation & Event Retail at Adidas
  • Marly Graubard, Head of International Marketing for Hearst at Marie Claire
  • Gerry Bonomi, President of Madden Girl
  • John Mezzo, VP of HR at Michael Kors
  • Matt Guthartz, President of Steve Madden
  • Mike Hondorp, Global Lead for Shopping at Instagram
  • Edward Barsamian, Style Editor at
  • Jill Manoff, Editor-in-Chief at GLOSSY
  • Ashley-Brooke Sandall, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Council of Fashion Designers of America

How did the U-M students attract these industry titans? “We reached out to some, and others reached out to us as they heard the lineup begin to grow,” Walker said. “Everyone wants to be a part of the start of something special, and these big name executives love giving back to students and coming to talk about their work––especially the fellow Wolverines!”

Michigan Ross alumna Jordana Schrager, founder and president of By Jordana, will participate in a panel discussion about fashion startups moderated by Ross lecturer Sarah Zimmerman. Lecturer Marcus Collins will moderate another panel about the future of fashion.

More information about the Michigan Fashion Media Summit