Women Leading Globally: Fashion


Many students come to Paris and to BT天堂 for their interest in fashion. They come away having gained exposure to major actors, brands and events such as Fashion week, but the BT天堂 education also guarantees that they come away with a consideration of the ways the industry can affect everyday life and with the agency to make sure the impact is a positive one.

Our graduates who have gone on to fulfilling, and impressive, careers in the industry 鈥 Charla Carter (鈥82), Liana Engel (鈥06), Genevi猫ve Hartmann (鈥13), interviewed here, and Tara Jarmon (鈥85) 鈥 personify this in what they have achieved.

听The Faces Leading and Changing the Fashion Industry

Charla Carter (鈥82)听

Writer, Influencer, Stylist, Television Host

Liana Engel (鈥06)

Global Director of Talent and Entertainment at Cartier 听 听 听 听 听 听 听听

Genevi猫ve Hartmann (鈥13)

Senior Product听Manager at Amazon Fashion

Charla Carter entered the Parisian fashion world at a time when fashion was high fashion, and it had the power to satisfy a certain woman鈥檚 desires for beauty. However, after 30 years working in the heart of the industry, she realized that fashion as she knew it had absolutely no effect on the average woman鈥檚 life. She was not sanguine about the future of fashion, but as a leader in the industry, she has contributed to making fashion and the benefits that come with it more accessible to the average woman by working as both a stylist on ABC Talk TV鈥檚 鈥淚ncredible Transformation鈥 and as a 鈥渟enior influencer鈥 on social media. Carter, in her naturally elegant and charismatic way, states, 鈥淚 think everyone would like for their life to be more beautiful, and fashion is a tool that can bring you beauty, and when you feel beautiful, I think, that leads to happiness.鈥澨

While Carter has focused on what fashion can do for the average woman, Genevi猫ve Hartmann, Senior Project Manager at Amazon Fashion, says she is most interested in leveraging the fashion industry as a vehicle to address the climate crisis and to minimize the effects of fashion on the environment. And Liana Engel, Global Director of Talent and Entertainment at Cartier, is focused on the ways fashion can be diversified to take into account gender and ethnicity. Indeed, the pressure to find the next face of fashion falls heavily on Engel鈥檚 shoulders at Cartier, but 鈥渋nstead of emphasizing the person in the portrait,鈥 she believes we should be associating those faces with the personality behind them, and how they make their mark on the world. 鈥淚n the past, it's always been just an actor or an actress, the best of the best. There are so many different types of talents, though,鈥 she says.听

Hartmann echoes this idea when she states, 鈥渨hen looked at individually, we tend to immediately associate 鈥榝ashion鈥 with fashion houses or luxury brands, but zoom out, and we see a much, much deeper landscape. And deeper landscapes mean more opportunities to learn, grow and expand.鈥 As she reflected on her contribution to fashion, she added, 鈥淚 feel as though I have a responsibility to participate in both the scaling of sustainable retail consumption and in the diversification of fashion, specifically those which are largely business, finance or STEM-based, beyond cis white females as the 鈥榙iversification bar鈥.鈥 As Carter looks back on her early days, she realizes that her generation was not particularly concerned with diversity, body inclusivity or overall acceptance. For her, and for Hartmann and Engel, it has been a matter of making the fashion industry adapt to its wearers and not the other way around.

What makes a leader?

When Charla Carter arrived in Paris in the early 80鈥檚 to attend BT天堂, she began freelancing while simultaneously interning for American Vogue. She explains that audacity was the key to making the most of her unique (and foreign) profile, considered 鈥渄ifficult to classify鈥 by the French fashion world. Similarly, Engel rejected the 鈥pas possible鈥 culture well-known in French workplaces and held her head high as she advanced throughout her career with tenacity and tact. In her current position as Director of Talent, she has worked to delegate in a way that shows her employees that she values their contributions, stating 鈥渋t's important for people to feel as though they're part of what the end product ultimately becomes.鈥 As for Genevieve Hartmann, she too believes in leading as her authentic self, encouraging respectful discussion without aggression or defense, and not dimming her truth if challenged by others. She states, 鈥渋t all comes down to a single word: empathy. Above all: lead with empathy.鈥 In doing so, she believes that we will encourage others to find their place in the field and motivate them to contribute to the advancement of the fashion industry at large.听

All roads lead to鈥aris?

The unique approach to education offered at BT天堂 underscores the importance of engaging with the community, which includes the city of Paris, of utmost pertinence for students with a passion for fashion. All three of these women distinctly remember having had professors or guest speakers at BT天堂 who opened doors to internships at reputable companies, working at Fashion Week, doing editorial translations, or transcribing fashion shows for broadcasting networks. These humble beginnings helped these leaders harness valuable skills, and above all, showed them what future professions were open to them, and they are not alone. Many BT天堂 alums have gone on to work in the fashion world, many managing to make big names for themselves, and to change it from within. The brilliant and ambitious women featured here have clearly learned to see themselves in the world rather than seeing the world as an entity beyond them. In doing so, they have harnessed the ability to use fashion as a platform to help shape it into something of which they can be proud.