Meet the Speakers: 2017 CAFA Fashion and Retail Forum

We’re so excited to introduce our illustrious speakers who will be presenting at the CAFA Fashion and Retail Forum this year.

At the Thorton-Smith Building on Thursday, April 6th 2017 at 8:30 AM, the first ever CAFA Fashion and Retail forum will be taking place. This event is a part of CAFA’s efforts to foster economic development in the Canadian Fashion Industry. The forum will feature Canadian and international industry speakers discussing thought-provoking conversations on prominent issues and opportunities facing the fashion industry.


Now, it is time to delve in and get to know more about our amazing speakers!

A fireside chat with fashion insider Edward Menicheschi:


Edward Menicheschi is the former CMO of Condé Nast and President, Condé Nast Media Group. Menicheschi has over 25 years in the publishing world and held positions in GQ, Vogue, Vanity Fair, WWDMedia Worldwide. Menicheschi will be sharing his thoughts on the future of storytelling.

The State of the Consumer with Ethan Song & Jackie Tardiff:


Ethan Song is the CEO and co-founder of Frank & Oak. Song and his partner Hicham Ratnani saw an opportunity in 2011 in the men’s space, starting Frank + Oak in 2012. Today, Frank + Oak continues to set itself apart as a brand that redefines commerce on all fronts, from product to marketing campaigns and online or in-store shopping experiences. Song, in turn, continues to redefine the world around him by collaborating on a wide array of creative and entrepreneurial endeavours.


Since her debut at Reitmans Canada Ltd in 1995 Jackie Tardif has worn many hats from Senior buyer, to Vice-President Merchandising, to Senior Vice-President Merchandising and General Manager & Leader of Smartset in 2014 to being the Senior Vice-President Merchandising of Reitmans & Leader of HYBA.

An energetic leader known for her ability to envision, create successful strategies & outcomes in a highly competitive landscape. As well as her skill to communicate a compelling message, to rally and motivate a team, with a tenacious commitment for driving sales, profit and market-share growth.

Building an International Brand:


An intimate conversation with twins Byron and Dexter Peart, the co-founders and creative directors of WANT Les Essentiels. WANT Les Essentiels was founded in 2006 and is a high-end accessories label with a focus on making stylish and comfortable luggage and travel bags for frequent travellers. The brand’s collection which has expanded since launch to include both women’s and men’s bags and accessories, footwear and cashmere essentials. Byron and Dexter are also co-founders of the WANT Apothecary retail concept, with boutiques in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and a newly opened location in the NoMad Hotel, New York.

Building a Global Fashion platform:


Guillaume Mercier is the Vice President of Marketing for SSENSE, a Montreal-based fashion platform currently serving 114 countries and generating an average of 32 million monthly page views. Founded in 2003, SSENSE is pacing the vanguard of directional retail with its mix of luxury, streetwear, and avant-garde labels.

Guillaume joined SSENSE from Elysium, a startup envisioned by Guy Laliberté, where he was President and General Manager, working with world-class creatives. Earlier in his career Guillaume also served as a venture capitalist at Real Ventures in Montreal and Senior Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company. Guillaume holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is Chairman of the Board for the non-profit organization Pour 3 Points.

CAFA Tech Talk:


A Tech talk with Dax Sasilva, Founder, CEO the creative mind behind Lightspeed. Lightspeed is a point-of-sale eCommerce software. Under Dax’s leadership, Lightspeed provides industry-leading omnichannel commerce tools that enable more than 40,000 small and medium-sized businesses worldwide to thrive. His vision of blending the best of the digital and physical worlds continues to guide the company today. Lightspeed helps its customers process over $15 billion in transactions annually.


Retail Revolutions:


Drawing from her 30 plus years in retail, Anne Martin-Vachon President of the Shopping Channel will be discussing the evolution of shopping platforms and what the future holds.


The Future of Retail:


Eric Morris is the Head of Search and Direct Response Advertising at Google, where he has worked alongside Canada’s top marketers and advertising agencies since 2002. Morris also sits on the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada’s board of directors.


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