10 Takeaways from Betsey Johnson Fashion Icon with Fern Mallis

Image: Styleite
Image: Styleite

This past Wednesday I had the pleasure of attending the Betsey Johnson Fashion Icon interview by Fern Mallis.  It was quite an enjoyable event.

Apparently Betsey and Fern are old friends, which made the entire thing feel as if you were sitting in someone’s living room, listening to two fashion-knowledgeable ladies chat past, present, and future.

Considering Betsey’s penchant for tangents, as well as her keen ability to spend 15 minutes speaking but not actually answering the question, it was pretty impressive that by the end of the event, I still felt as though I learned something.

Betsey’s energy (she entered with her signature cartwheel into split) is so contagious and her personality so large, that you couldn’t help but get swept up in her stories about what it was like to design for the past 35 years.  From the great to the awful, she shared her journey and how through it all she always remained true to herself and what she loves about design and fashion.

So, here are a 10 things I took away from Betsey Johnson Fashion Icon

  • Rule #1, Have Fun!
  • When you have an idea, go with it
  • You don’t have to go to fashion school to have in impact (Betsey attended art school and learned how to cut and sew on her own)
  • Believe or not, most designers are shy and insecure about their work
  • She (like many) started with absolutely no money, so she did everything herself
  • While dreams and fantasy are important, you need your clothes to sell
  • Nobody ever agrees about anything int he fashion industry, so just do your thing and don’t worry about what others have to say
  • There are a lot of people packed into one person, so don’t be afraid to express them
  • Only way to survive: hard work, watch the money, some luck, bring something new to the table
  • Words of advice: KICK ASS
Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

1 Comment
  1. Viji Reddy

    I just discovered Start Up Fashion and am sure i will now regularly refer to it. Thank you for all the info that is presented. I am a fashion designer who works with ethical and sustainable textiles. We handcraft our products in India where everything is made by hand with meticulous attention to design and detail.
    I would like to reach out to buyers in the US and reps who would like to rep our collections.
    Viji Reddy

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