Friday, June 21, 2013

Humber Fashion Alumni: Michelle Carlone's Experience with Citizens of Humanity

By: Tamara Arnew


“You have to make money in the end, but you have to understand what  you do … you have to love, to have a passion … if you’re going to go every morning just thinking about making money I don’t know what can make you happy. To me what make me happy is to do something amazing.” Jerome Dahan, Founder and Designer Citizens of Humanity

Michelle Carlone graduated from Humber’s Fashion Business program in 2005. Jerome Dahan created the Citizens of Humanity brand two years earlier: a pioneer in the upscale denim market. Ten years later their paths in the pursuit of what they are passionate about have crossed. Michelle is the vivacious and successful Canadian Brand Manager for the company. And both are doing something amazing.

Michelle was able to dedicate her time to coming into Julie Savile’s Trend Analysis and Product Development course at Humber to speak with second semester Fashion Arts students on her work experience and prepared a product knowledge session for the lecture that mirrored how she presents to her accounts for the brand.

Citizens of Humanity is currently ranked in the upper 1500 of top tiered retailers. The jeans are made in California from imported fabrics, predominantly Japanese and Italian denim. Jerome Dahan has worked with Adriano Golschmied on the brand since 2007, known in the industry as the “godfather of denim” and the “wash mastermind” for his innovative fabrications and elevating Citizens to their unique level of fashionability. More then half of the product line consists of basic styles inspired by the youth spirit of the 60’s and 70’s, vintage and authentic workwear and a feeling of the culture of Paris and California. When they do a trend, they do it well- experimenting with techniques focusing on quality, fit and authenticity in their vertically integrated sewing facilities and wash houses. The C of H girl is a little bit Bridget Bardot and a little bit Jane Birkin: sophistocated, laid back and comfortable in her own skin.

Michelle fully embodies the brand that she represents. The Humber alumni member says “fashion is in her blood, it’s where she comes from” and that “denim has always been her true passion.” For the duration of her student life she worked for Holt Renfrew in the cosmetics department, aspiring to become a buyer.  In her career as a sales rep, including a position with A&F Apparel (Canada’s largest denim distributor), she has contributed to the development and pioneering Los Angelos and New York based premium brands such as People’s Liberation, DL1961, and Robin’s Jeans. In her role as Canadian Brand Manager for Citizen’s of Humanity she acts as a liason between the designers and Canadian retailers including accounts with Aritzia, Over The Rainbow, Harry Rosen and Holt Renfrew. As the account executive she markets and manages the brand at the wholesale level, planning and developing strategic sales approaches to work on maximizing geographic reach. She coordinates denim delivery and stock replenishment programs, observes market trends and new customer opportunities, shows collections to buyers each season and conducts product knowledge sessions and events at retail locations.

Michelle contributes her achievements to a strong sense of tenacity and persistence, being genuine and establishing credibility from being on top of what you know. She discusses keeping your reputation and connecting with who you know, while putting effort forward “hitting the pavement” and going out there. Her personable nature, confidence and wholeheartedness is inspirational. She is doing what she loves with denim worthy dedication. 

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