fbpx Skip to content

Carrie Kirkman: Fashion’s Fearless Leader

Thirty years ago, Carrie Kirkman left her modeling career and began climbing the ranks on the business side of the fashion industry, eventually leading some of Canada’s biggest brands. Her timeline is undeniably interesting, building Jones Canada to national success with record-breaking sales, only to have the brand dismantled beneath her. Now, she’s taking on one of Canada’s biggest department stores, Sears Canada.

We’ve mapped out three decades of her most impressive milestones.



1985: Leaves modeling to begin a career in the fashion industry at a Montreal based sales agency, repping brands such as Alfred Sung and Ports International. Spends 7 years learning the ropes of the industry, from small independent accounts to large national specialty chains across Eastern Canada.

1996: Has a baby and moves to Toronto.

1997: Joins Liz Claiborne Canada as National Sales Manager/Director of Merchandising for brands such as Liz Claiborne, DKNY, and Kenneth Cole. Manages the wholesale assortment strategy and buys for department and specialty stores across Canada.

2002: Joins Hudson’s Bay to streamline the private and captive brand business. Manages and renegotiates the licensed opportunities and improves the product development processes.

2005: Takes on first role with full profit and loss accountability managing a business unit, accessories, luggage, and hosiery. Introduces new vendor business models, significantly reducing liabilities.

2006: Takes over the women’s apparel business and begins reengineering the strategy, delivering better brands (such as Ralph Lauren) and rebalancing the space to maximize women’s apparel. Delivers the first significant sales growth in women’s apparel in almost a decade.

2009: Joins Zellers as head of newly created “Women’s World.” Delivers a $30 million sales increase in the first 18 months.

2010: Joins Jones New York Canada as president.

Related: Learn how Heather Reisman revolutionized Canada’s book-selling industry through her strategy of reinvention.

2014: Delivers a reengineered growth curve for Jones New York Canada. Plans are exceeded by 40%, with a double-digit comparable store increase in both the direct channel and wholesale accounts.

January 2015: Jones head office decides to shut down the existing worldwide organization.

August 2015: Becomes interim president of Nine West. Leads the organization through the transition and acquisition from a licensee model to a corporate divisional of the US Nine West Holdings.

November 2015: Accepts role of president and chief merchant Sears Canada.


A version of this appears in print in our Spring 2016 Women of Influence Magazine, Page 17.