Fashion Futures: Meet The Panelists

Being young and trying to make your way into the fashion industry can be tough. We’ve been there. So, on Wednesday, January 22, we’re partnering with Ryerson Fashion Zone and FashionTech Toronto on an event called Fashion Futures. As tickets are sold out, we thought we would give you the scoop on who our panelists are. You can also find more details on the event here

Christina Mirabelli started her career in media working on national brand campaigns for clients such as Molson Coors and CHANEL. Realizing her passion was in marketing she blended her media knowledge and penchant for creativity to refine her career path. It was important for her to find a brand that matched her love for fashion and sports, as well as, her dynamic personality; introducing PUMA. At PUMA Christina has managed product launch events, instore activations and support, media campaigns and influencer outreach. She has led the charge in bringing to life several collaboration launches in Canada and the US with global brands such as Bape, Fenty, XO, Balmain and most recently Rhude. You can find her repping PUMA on Instagram @mirabelli

Maria Brown has spent over 20 years in retail, from Winnipeg to Toronto, fast fashion to luxury. She was inspired to pursue a career in retail by observing her parents relationships with their own preferred sales associates (her father was the VP of a textiles company, while her mother was a seamstress). Maria has also worked for Canada’s leading retailers including Le Chateau, Danier Leather, Birks and Holt Renfrew, and then sharpened her relationship selling skills with Nordstrom Canada. Today, she is the Store Manager for the first Balenciaga boutique on Bloor Street in Toronto. Maria sees fashion as a vehicle for developing meaningful connections and believes in surrounding herself with the best product and people. What has fueled Maria in her Fashion Futures are the relationships she has cultivated and facilitated over her career.

Pouneh Hanafi is the VP of Marketing at Tulip, a retail technology software provider, responsible for marketing programs, brand management, demand generation and corporate sponsorships. With over 15 years of marketing and management experience, she has developed ROI driven integrated B2C and B2B campaigns for large Canadian corporations such as ADP Canada, Hudson’s Bay and Sears. Pouneh holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ryerson University and an MBA from University of Western Ontario.

Pouneh is past member of the board of directors of Orchestra Toronto and Dress for Success. She is currently volunteering with Toronto Distress Center, a helpline that provides support for individuals in crisis. Because of her diverse cultural background, she has cultivated a deep passion for travelling. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, cycling, yoga, and a variety of cultural activities such as theater and live music


Kristi Soomer is the founder and CEO of the ethical fashion brand, Encircled. Founded in 2012 in Toronto and a certified B corporation, Encircled designs luxurious, sustainable and comfortable clothing for women so they can do more with less clothing in their closet. Kristi left her 12+ career in consumer packaged goods, marketing and management consulting to go full-time into the business in 2014 and never looked back. With no fashion background, and minimal funding, she’s been able to successfully scale the business to 15 employees, and in 2018, Encircled was named as one of the Startup 50 fastest growing companies in Canada. Encircled proudly manufactures 100% of it’s clothing in Toronto, and knits/dyes about 50% of their fabric locally as well. Kristi has an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelors in Finance from Western University and hosts the podcast, Brave and Boss on topics likes mindset, marketing and entrepreneurship.

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