Baltimore, MD — August 23, 2023 — Mano Swartz Furs, America's oldest furrier, proudly announces the appointment of Allison Elizabeth Brown as its new CEO following Richard Swartz and Creative Director following Debbie Swartz, effective September 6, 2023. This momentous appointment signifies a remarkable turning point for the eponymous brand, as Allison brings a unique blend of fashion, entertainment, and storytelling to the helm.
A product of Maryland's educational institutions, Allison attended Woodlawn High School and graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts, where her passion for creativity, expression, and fashion took root. After earning her BFA from the North Carolina School of the Arts, Allison embarked on a dynamic career that combined fashion and entertainment, ultimately leading her to found a successful branding/entertainment business, as well as multiple clothing lines.
"Allison's journey is a testament to her versatility and talent. She has seamlessly woven her passion for fashion and entertainment into a career that revolves around dynamic storytelling," says Richard Swartz, President and Owner of Mano Swartz Furs. "We are delighted to welcome her aboard and believe that her unique perspective will guide our brand into an exciting new chapter."
With a diverse portfolio of achievements, Allison has showcased her exceptional branding skills, working with notable clients such as Marjorie Harvey, the wife of comedian Steve Harvey. Where Allison managed Mrs. Harvey’s blog, handbag collection, and a luxury online resale store. Earlier in her career, Allison contributed to the “Embrace the Change” southern gospel tour series, a crucial component of former President Barack Obama's initial presidential campaign.
The ceremonial signing event is scheduled to take place at the Connection Center of New Psalmist Baptist Church on Wednesday September 6, 2023 @ 4pm. The Connection Center was selected by Allison who is a longstanding church member. This decision is a nod to the church's legacy of empowerment, community, and economic development. In addition, reflecting on her introduction to Richard Swartz, Allison recalls accompanying her father (chairman of the Walter Scott Thomas Scholarship Fund) to the Mano Swartz showroom to pick up donated raffle items for the foundation's annual fundraiser. It was there that she struck up a conversation with Richard about the brand and company’s rich history.
Allison's deep appreciation for fur was sparked by her grandmother’s stylish influence (a loyal Mano Swartz customer for decades). This solidified Allison’s connection to Mano Swartz Furs. Her genuine passion for the brand culminated in a remarkable offer to feature the company in Marjorie Harvey's prestigious blog (The Lady Loves Couture), fostering a lasting friendship between the Swartz family and Allison.
This appointment not only ushers in Allison's pivotal leadership but also marks a groundbreaking moment for the legacy brand. As the first African American woman and outsider of the family to assume this role, Allison's appointment is a testament to the brand's commitment to progress, inclusivity, and social equity. Consistent with Mano Swartz’s history of being the first merchant to fully integrate the Howard St corridor in the 60’s, by selling to African American customers.
Looking ahead, Allison is poised to infuse new energy into Mano Swartz Furs, with plans to introduce e-commerce, revive the beau monde fashion shows and events, as well as expanding product range and offerings. A preview of the collaboration between Allison Elizabeth Brown and Mano Swartz Furs, the AEB x Mano Swartz Capsule collection, is set to premiere at New York Fashion Week in September, followed by its full online unveiling in October. Simultaneously, Allison is preparing to launch another exclusive label debut on HSN (The Home Shopping Network) February 1, 2024.
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