Rooftop Soiree Raises Funds in Support of LIM Students

On the rooftop of a Manhattan residential building Wednesday evening, it was all about cocktails, industry chatter and, most importantly, showing support for the LIM Fashion Education Foundation.

Retail and fashion executives and faculty and students from LIM turned out for the event where Jennifer Foyle, president and executive creative officer of American Eagle and Aerie, and Michele Parsons, the chief merchandising officer of Kate Spade, were presented with LIM’s inaugural “Fashion Forward” awards. The evening raised more than $60,000, drew about 100 supporters and also celebrated LIM FEF’s 45th anniversary. Over the years, the event has raised more than $2 million for the foundation.

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“The exciting part of all this is that 80 percent of LIM students require some financial aid and the entire mission of the foundation is to help students,” Arnie Cohen, LIM FEF board chair, told WWD. Regarding the honorees, “Jen and Michele are not only dear friends but have also given back to the fashion industry in many ways,” said Cohen, who is also chief executive officer of JP Outfitters, the parent firm of the J. Peterman and The Territory Ahead catalogues.

“We’re huge supporters of the foundation,” Foyle said. “It’s hard to find the right talent for our brands, but at LIM, they’re studying in such areas as marketing, e-commerce, inventory control and planning. You need people who can actually run the business.”

“Tonight is about raising funds for deserving students at the college pursuing their dreams. Without this support, their dreams would not come true,” said Elizabeth S. Marcuse, president of LIM College.

As the inaugural honorees, Foyle and Parsons were recognized for their commitment to empowering the next generation of retail leaders. Both women serve on the LIM FEF board of directors helping the nonprofit organization’s mission to raise and administer funds for scholarships and educational enhancements that benefit LIM College students.

Foyle has more than 30 years of experience at several well-known brands, from American Eagle and Aerie to Gap and J.Crew. At AEO, she’s been instrumental in the #AerieReal body positivity movement, empowering women, and helping to develop the next generation of retail leaders.

Parsons has held leadership roles at brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, J.Crew, and Coach. She has demonstrated her commitment to mentoring the next generation of leaders by offering internships to LIM College students and speaking at the LIM FEF’s “People in the Know” series, in which she discussed her experiences and gave advice on how to get started in the fashion industry. “I gain inspiration from LIM College students. They have great passion and insights into fashion brands and style,” said Parsons.

Among the other attendees at the fundraiser were Daniella Vitale, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo Americas, former Barneys New York CEO, and a graduate of LIM; Karis Durmer, president of Scotch & Soda; Liz Fraser, CEO of Kate Spade; Karis Durmer, CEO of Scotch & Soda, Americas; menswear designer Todd Snyder, and Jay Angeletti, vice chairman, LIM FEF.

Karis Durmer and Daniel Vitale with The Brownestone Group’s Tim Boerkel.
Karis Durmer and Daniel Vitale with The Brownestone Group’s Tim Boerkel.

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