Asian American Career Ceilings: Obstacles in the Fashion Industry

Peter Young

About the Webinar

The Committee of 100 Asian American Career Ceilings Initiative event, featuring a fireside chat on the topic “Obstacles in the Fashion Industry”was held on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, from 5:00pm-6:00pm Eastern Time.

Panelists featured in this webinar include Eva Chen, Vice President of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram; Laura Kim, Co-Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta and Founder and Co-Creative Director of MONSE; and Roopal Patel, Senior Vice President, Fashion Director, Saks Fifth Avenue. Peter Young, Chair of the Committee of 100 Asian American Career Ceilings Initiative and Committee of 100 Member, was the moderator.

The fashion industry is very visible and diverse. Manufacturing, design, distribution, retail, and modeling are just a few segments of this dynamic industry. However, barriers to advancement for Asian Americans exist in every segment in this country. The obstacles are particularly severe for women.

Our three panelists come from three segments of the industry and will share their personal experiences and perspectives on the topic, including advice to the audience on how to overcome the career ceiling challenge. 


Eva Chen
Vice President
Fashion Partnerships at Instagram

Eva Chen is a first-generation Chinese American who grew up in New York City. She blames her deviation from pre-med at Johns Hopkins University on a love of fashion and beauty instilled in her by her mother, whose perfect bob and lipstick made a permanent imprint on her impressionable young mind. 
Previously the editor in chief of Lucky, Eva has also written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, ELLE, Vogue, Teen Vogue, and Vogue China. 
She is the New York Times bestselling author of nine books including I Am Golden, Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes, Roxy: The Last Unisaurus Rex, and A Is for Awesome. She is currently the vice president of fashion partnerships at Instagram and lives in New York City with her husband and three children. 


Laura Kim
Co-Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta
Founder and Co-Creative Director of MONSE

Laura Kim is the Co-Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta and the founder and Co-Creative Director of MONSE. She is one of the most prominent, influential, and respected names in the fashion industry.

Kim was born in South Korea and showed a keen interest in fashion from a young age, where she learned to sketch and sew from her grandparents who made cloth. After growing up in Canada, Kim moved to New York at age 18 to attend the Pratt Institute. During her studies, Laura interned with Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta. Upon graduation, Oscar de la Renta offered her a position in his studio, and she became Oscar’s design director at the age of 25. Laura worked for Oscar for 12 years until his passing, during which time she honed her skills and gained invaluable experience in the industry.

After Oscar’s passing, Laura and her business partner, Fernando Garcia, started their own brand, MONSE. Within two years of launching MONSE, they were asked to become the creative directors of Oscar de la Renta.

Today, Laura and Fernando run both brands with their unique vision of design, texture, and color. Their versatile designs can be seen on the First Lady of the United States to popular music icons, including Blackpink and Doja Cat. 


Roopal Patel 
Senior Vice President, Fashion Director
Saks Fifth Avenue

Roopal Patel joined Saks Fifth Avenue as Senior Vice President, Fashion Director, in September 2015. In this position, Ms. Patel plays a key role in forecasting the trends that underpin Saks Fifth Avenue’s buying activities, articulating the luxury retailer’s seasonal fashion message, and discovering emerging designers and collections.

Ms. Patel has the unique ability to source emerging fashion, talent and trends. Since joining Saks, she has been instrumental in introducing the Saks customer to groundbreaking designer brands including Christopher John Rogers, Pyer Moss, Khaite, TOVE, Reese Cooper, Amiri, and many others. Her taste, experience, and expertise position her as a trusted source for the media, and she is regularly quoted as a fashion industry leader by publications such as VOGUE, ELLE, The New York Times, Business of Fashion, Women’s Wear Daily, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2017, Ms. Patel was added to Harper’s Bazaar’s “150 Most  Fashionable Women” for her exceptional sense of style.

Since 2017, Ms. Patel has served on the Selection Committee of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, where she is involved in selecting and mentoring top emerging designers in the program. She also sits on the founding Board of Directors for RAISEfashion, an organization connecting black-owned brands and individuals to fashion industry leaders for mentorship.


Peter Young
CEO and President, Young & Partners  

Peter Young is CEO and President of Young & Partners, a boutique corporate strategy and investment banking firm focused on the life science and chemical industries. He manages the firm and is actively involved in client projects, transactions, and financings. Under his leadership, Young & Partners has established and maintained its position as a highly regarded firm serving the corporate strategy, M&A, restructuring, and financing needs of clients worldwide. He was previously head of industry groups at Salomon Brothers, Schroders, and Lehman Brothers, a senior private equity executive with J.H. Whitney & Co., and a senior member of Bain & Co., a corporate strategy firm.   

Mr. Young received a BA in Economics from Yale, an MS in Accounting from NYU, and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he graduated as a Baker Scholar. He is a CPA and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. He serves on several boards of directors, both corporate and non-profit; and is a board member of Société de Chimie Industrielle, a leading life science and chemical industry non-profit organization; and on the Editorial Advisory Board of Pharmaceutical Executive. He is also the New York Regional Chair for Committee of 100.  


Wednesday, December 13, 2023 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Eastern Time

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