Michelle Sadlier, 35, Head of Brand Marketing and Innovation, Ermenegildo Zegna
From shop floors to HQ’s, Michelle Sadlier’s career in the fashion industry has taken her from Dublin (her first job was as Louise Kennedy’s PA) to London where she honed her skills in PR and communication (at Karla Otto), and further afield to Texas. She hosted one of the first talks at SXSW, an international “trends of the future” conference in Texas, with fashion heavyweights such as Imran Ahmed (of Business of Fashion) and Chris Morton of LYST. She worked at Net-a-Porter before Alasdhair Willis, creative director at Hunter, called on her services. “I jumped, wellies first,” Sadlier recalls, who spearheaded digital innovation for the company. Her diverse experiences have combined at Ermenegildo Zegna, where she leads brand marketing globally for the world’s biggest luxury menswear brand … learning a little Italian along the way.
MY MENTORS Louise Kennedy, for opening the doors to the business of fashion; Mark Little for showing me how curiosity can manifest into a successful business idea (Little’s company Storyful sold to News Corp for $18m in 2014) and Máire Cranny, my drama teacher at Muckross Park College, for helping me understand the power of strong communication skills. Throughout it all, my mother, my personal executive coach, has guided me through the various chapters of my journey so far. VITAL STEPS Booking a one-way flight to London to pursue my career in fashion without a job or a home. CAREER LOW When I was finally offered my dream job in London – as a PR executive for a fashion PR agency. The only caveat? The salary. Not quite as expected. I was at a crossroads – a safe office job or a creative fashion route? After a counselling call with Dad, I chose fashion. In that moment, I understood what a gut feeling meant and how important passion would be in driving my career. I DON’T BOTHER WITH Fake tan and bold make-up; I prefer a natural look using a Chanel red lipstick to dial up my look for special occasions. BLACK THINGS Dresses from Simone Rocha and Cecilie Bahnsen (chic, timeless and modern). Cashmere sweaters from Agnona. My pouch bag from Bottega Veneta. My Rimowa carry-on suitcase, a trusty sidekick. Gianvito Rossi strappy kitten heels and knee boots. WHITE THINGS Shirts and marshmallows – my weakness. www.zegna.ie