2023 Merchandising Symposium

April 27, 2023 in Rockwell Hall

The School of Fashion is hosting the 2023 Merchandising Symposium on April 27, 2023, where students get to hear from industry panelists and share their work.

Topic: Post COVID-19 Value Chain

As we continue to live with and emerge from the COVID 19 pandemic we see supply chains disrupted and a shift in the industry for more nearshoring and right-shoring tactics as well as an interest in retailer-led resale platforms as sustainability, product availability and supply chain logistics and efficiency becomes a critical focal point in this new retail landscape.

RSVP for the Merchandising Symposium


2-3 p.m.: Merchandising Student Work and Design Portfolio Showcase - Rockwell Hall

3-3:30 p.m.: Andrea Cilona, Senior Director, Product Operations at Lululemon Athletica - Murphy Auditorium

3:30 -4 p.m: Kevin Kuehl, SVP GMM Home and Apparel, Big Lots Stores - Murphy Auditorium

4-4:30 p.m.: Julia K. Hughes, President, United States Fashion Industry Association - Murphy Auditorium

4:30-5 p.m.: Panel of Keynotes Q&A - Murphy Auditorium

5-6 p.m.: Reception - Rockwell Hall, Atrium First Floor

Meet Our Panelists:

Andrea Cilona

Andrea Cilona is Senior Director, Product Operations for lululemon athletica. Andrea has worked in the athletic apparel industry since graduating from Kent State University in 2008. She began her career as an intern in Color for Under Armour, where she discovered her passion for working with mills, optimizing processes, and collaborating with creative teams. After spending 4 years at Under Armour, Andrea joined lululemon and relocated to the company’s headquarters in Vancouver, Canada. Over her past 11 years with the company, she has built the lululemon color development teams globally, implemented technology solutions, and helped to standardize processes. In 2018, Andrea transitioned to an operational role within the company, leading the Product Operations team, a dynamic group of people focused on transforming the future state operating model through people, process, and technology solutions. Andrea enjoys running competitively and skiing in Whistler on the weekends with her son.

Kevin Kuehl

Kevin Kuehl is the senior vice president and general merchandise manager of Home and Apparel at Big Lots, one of America’s largest home discount retailers, operating more than 1,425 stores in 48 states, as well as a best-in-class eCommerce platform with expanded fulfillment and delivery capabilities. He joined the company in 2014 as the vice president and divisional merchandise manager of Soft Home and Textiles. Before joining Big Lots, Kevin was the president of Baltic Linen, an import company that specializes in bedding and bath products sold to retailers and hotel chains. Throughout his career, he has held management and buyer-level positions with several specialty, off-price, department store, and mass retailers, including Sears, JCPenney, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Kevin attended the University of Iowa, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and Spanish. When he is not being a Value Creator for Big Lots, he can be found volunteering in the community with the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio — where he sits on the board of directors — golfing, and supporting his kids’ volleyball and track teams.

Julia K. Hughes

Julia K. Hughes is President of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), which represents brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers based in the United States and doing business globally. USFIA supports fashion made possible by global trade. Ms. Hughes represents the industry in front of the U.S. government as well as international governments and stakeholders, explaining how fashion companies create high-quality jobs in the United States and economic opportunities around the world. An expert on textile and apparel trade issues, Ms. Hughes has testified before Congress and the Executive Branch. She frequently speaks at international conferences including the China & Asia Textile Forum, Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Harvard University’s Bangladesh Development Conference, MAGIC, Prime Source Forum, Vietnam Textile Summit, and others. Ms. Hughes served as the first President and is one of the founders of the Washington Chapter of Women in International Trade (WIIT) and is one of the founders of the WIIT Charitable Trust. She also was the first President of the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT). She received the Outstanding Woman in International Trade award and the WIIT Lifetime Achievement Award. She also is a member of the International Women’s Forum. Ms. Hughes has an M.A. in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. 

Kent State Fashion Week will take place April 21 - May 1, 2023

The Annual Kent State Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony will be held Friday, April 28, 2023 in the Kent Student Center Ballroom

See the SCHEDULE for Annual Fashion Week 

POSTED: Friday, April 7, 2023 02:23 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 13, 2023 03:25 PM