In case you hadn’t heard, New York Fashion Week is here (though it hardly looks like Spring here.) We’re a little too busy to attend the shows so we thought we would rely on some wise career guidance from some of the most powerful women in fashion right now for a little inspiration. Whether you are pursuing a career in fashion or something else, these women proved themselves and are powerhouses (and they always look great!)
CAROLINA HERRERA, DESIGNER
Since launching her flagship Carolina Herrera brand in New York in 1981 she now runs a multi-billion fashion empire including her signature fashion collection, a bridal collection, fragrances and accessories. Herrera has more than 280 stores in 104 countries and her clients have included the late Jackie Onassis, Renee Zellweger and Tina Fey.
“The moment I leave my office I draw a curtain on my work. Because you know what is really boring? When you work and work and then work some more, and you don’t realize it, but work is all you talk about all the time. Many designers have that problem. Work should be an important part of your life. But for it to be your life? That is very sad.” — From the book In Style
RACHEL ZOE, STYLIST, DESIGNER, TV PERSONALITY
After pretty much putting the job of being a stylist on the map less than a decade ago, Rachel is now running a fashion empire. But thanks to Rachel and her career she has helped bring a lot of exposure to this part of the fashion industry with The Rachel Zoe Project and just the basic explosion of her career. Los Angeles Times fashion critic Booth Moore put it correctly when she called Zoe’s career trajectory impressive. “Going from no-name stylist to red carpet tastemaker, earning $6,000 a day, with clients including Cameron Diaz, Eva Mendes and Demi Moore. Rachel may be a big celebrity now but her love and passion for fashion is always evident. She is also a great businesswoman.
“Oprah is power — she is everything. Martha [Stewart], she can make a house out of a piece of paper. I have incredible respect for women like that because it’s not easy. People fight you every step of the way — they pull you down as soon as you get up. And the reality is, it’s harder for women.”
TORY BURCH, DESIGNER, CEO, ENTREPRENEUR
It is hard to believe that in only two years, and without any formal design or business training, Tory built a $2 billion company with a brand that is recognized around the world. It is especially amazing considering she started the business from her kitchen table and cold calling people. Soon she had 16 employees at the table with her. A few years later and one very important Oprah appearance and Tory was a household name. Never one to shy away from helping others, Tory established the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to assist women by providing micro-loans to them in various fields. In a recent interview with Fast Company Tory said she was interested in reaching out after she herself had faced challenges as a woman starting a business.
“There’s always a stigma attached to the word ‘ambition’ and women. I’ve embraced it. Ambition is not a four-letter word and women have to embrace that.”