Susan Sokol is a renowned leader in the global fashion industry in the Contemporary and Luxury markets. She spearheads all aspects of the business: P&L, merchandising, production, sales, marketing, operations, licensing, and retail management. Partnering with founders of iconic brands, Ms. Sokol has repeatedly taken Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, and J. Mendel through exciting growth.
Currently, Ms Sokol is founder of Susan Sokol Consultancy, LLC. which provides strategic leadership to luxury and contemporary apparel and accessories companies. Clients range from emerging designers to mature global brands. Prior to launching her consulting company, Ms. Sokol served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of J. Mendel where she introduced a more aggressive growth strategy, built synergistic design, and merchandising teams, developed a professional corporate culture, and more efficient systems. Focusing on new business opportunities, she introduced RTW into the collection, launched accessories and e-commerce. Her leadership and contributions catapulted the brand into a global luxury fashion company sold in 26 countries, increasing wholesale sales more than 350%, and growing retail comp store sales by 15% in a challenging environment.
Previously the President of the apparel division at Vera Wang, she transformed the company from a bridal resource into a multi-faceted luxury business. She led the company through an outstanding growth phase, marked by the successful re-launch of Ms. Wang’s RTW collection and the launch of Lavender, a contemporary sportswear line targeted at a broader customer base. Additionally she successfully negotiated three new licenses for the company.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Sokol was President of Donna Karan New York with P&L responsibility for a $200 million business at retail, leading a staff of 120. She revamped the Signature Collection, doubling its sales volume, and re-launched Essentials, increasing its penetration to 20% of the company’s total volume. Realigning organizational structure, she strengthened the talent base, enhanced product quality, and dramatically reduced division losses.
Her career began at Calvin Klein, where she held increasingly senior roles over a 22-year tenure. As President of the Women’s Collection, she worked closely with the founders, Mr. Klein and Mr. Schwartz, setting the direction for the company as well as pioneering new trends for the industry.
A lifelong New Yorker, Ms. Sokol was educated at Finch College in English Literature. She is a frequent lecturer on the fashion industry at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, where she is Executive in Residence. She has also lectured at the Harvard Business School, Columbia University, Fordham Business School, and Northwestern University. In addition, Ms. Sokol serves as a mentor to the CFDA’s incubator program as well as an advisor to their MBA NYU Stern School affiliate program.
She is a member of the President’s Council for Sanctuary for Families, which provides support for domestic violence. She has also served as Regional Chair of Annual Giving, at Northwestern University. In 2012, Ms. Sokol received the distinguished Spirit of Life Award from The City of Hope, a leading cancer research hospital to which she is an Honorary Board member. More recently, Ms. Sokol joined the Board of Directors for Sferra, the luxury bedding and linens Company.