Judges

Ken Downing

Ken Downing

Ken Downing is Chief Creative Officer of Triple Five Group and the former senior vice president, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, where he interpreted, articulated, and set the fashion direction for the Neiman Marcus brand and served as its international fashion ambassador and spokesperson. He provided oversight for the company’s merchant and creative divisions, and was responsible for dictating the seasonal trends for Neiman Marcus stores and online businesses.

Downing is a constant fixture during the New York, London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Weeks. Annually, he hosted events in the 42 Neiman Marcus stores, alongside designers such as Stella McCartney, Derek Lam, and Zac Posen.

He has collaborated with PopSugar as well as Nest Fragrances and Le Métier de Beauté, and he has worked on partnerships and events with the fashion media elite, including Anna Wintour of Vogue, Glenda Bailey of Harper’s Bazaar, and Hal Rubenstein of InStyle.

Downing is also a frequent contributor to the media, speaking regularly at many of the nation’s art museums about fashion as art. He has recently hosted events at the St. Louis Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum.

A native of Seattle, Downing was educated at FIT, where he studied Fashion Design.

Triple Five Group


Laird Borrelli-Persson

Laird Borrelli-Persson

Laird Borrelli-Persson is the archive editor at Vogue.com. A Style.com alum, she has a master’s degree from FIT in museum studies and fashion history and helped create Vogue’s digital archives. The author of five books, several on fashion illustration, she has been covering fashion in Scandinavia since the mid 2000s.

Vogue


Kesha McLeod

Kesha McLeod

Fueled by her passion for fashion, style maven Kesha McLeod has made a name for herself through her creative ability to bring out the unique style and elegance of each of her clients. This St. Albans, Queens native found her true calling at the age of 19. She studied fashion merchandising at Katherine Gibbs School in Manhattan. Her big break came when she was recruited by Grammy Award-winning recording artist Ne-Yo to work with him overseas and choose the wardrobe for his entire tour. Since then her career has continued to evolve, and she has worked with several high-profile clients in the entertainment and sports industries such as Serena Williams, 2018 NBA MVP James Harden, Young Jeezy, Veronica Webb, La La Vasquez-Anthony, Chris Bosh, Caroline Wozniacki, and many more. Kesha’s work can be seen in several television commercials, music videos, advertising campaigns, editorials, on the red carpet, at the Espy Awards, the Grammy Awards, the Oscars, and the Emmy Awards. She can also be found hosting intimate invite-only events for Dior Homme and Net-A-Porter.

KMCME


Emilia Petrarca

Emilia Petrarca is fashion news writer of The Cut, New York magazine’s women’s site, where she reports on stories in the fashion industry. Previously, Petrarca was digital associate features editor at W Magazine. She has also worked as a studio assistant at Garance Doré, and graduated from Vassar College.

The Cut


Erin Walsh

Erin Walsh

Erin Walsh is a New York-based stylist. She is sought out for her elegant yet whimsical editor’s eye and has collaborated consistently with photographers including Alexi Lubomirski, Peter Lindbergh, Guy Aroch, Tom Munro, and Max Vadukul. In addition, Erin has styled campaigns for brands such as Cole Haan, Hugo Boss, Stuart Weitzman, Neutrogena, NY & Co., Avon, and more. Her talents have been enlisted on the red carpet for celebrities such as Kerry Washington, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thandie Newton, Dane Dehaan, Ruth Wilson, and Cobie Smulders. With her husband, photographer Christian Hogstedt, Erin co-founded the online multimedia journal, SBJCT.

The Wall Group

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