35+ Iconic and Famous American Fashion Designers & Brands

Iconic and famous american fashion designers - faverie

Have you ever felt so passionate about something that you let nothing stand in your way? That is the case with many famous American fashion designers who felt so driven to produce clothes, shoes, and accessories that they did not let anything stand in their way.

Come along as we look at designers who scraped together $300 to build a multi-billion-dollar company and learn about their failures along the way. Feel the fear that was so great that one designer pushed his garment rack down the streets in New York City’s Garment District so that his clothes would not get wrinkled. Celebrate the success of designers who started with two sewing machines and built one of the most successful workwear companies in the world.

Learn to recognize their names and follow them on social media as they continue to influence how the world dresses.

Fashion in America

If you think that all high-end fashion starts in Paris, London or Rome, you may be surprised to learn that fashion designers in America have designed many luxurious clothes. In this post, I am thrilled to introduce you to American fashion designers that you will want to be sure to follow.

I will be sharing a short biography of many designers that you will want to make sure to follow. I think you will be amazed at the fashion history made in America, but even more surprised by the work currently being done in the U.S.

Introduction to American fashion

While leaders ordered clothing for Massachusetts Bay Colony from Europe, it did not take Americans long to start creating their fashions, most of which women sewed at home. One of the earliest leaders on the fashion scene in America was Louis A. Godey, who published Godey’s Lady’s Book from 1830 through 1878. Before the American Civil War, it was the most read periodical and one of the most expensive. Each issue of the magazine, which was the first publication to be copyrighted, opened with a hand-colored fashion plate. Each issue included instructions allowing women to sew the item at home, along with original music and short stories. Many American traditions came from reading this publication, including wearing white for weddings and the creation of Thanksgiving.

Main Rousseau Bocher was one of the first American citizens to receive recognition for his fashion design. He was born in Chicago in 1890. After dropping out of college, he moved to Paris, where he designed the Duchess of Windsor’s wedding dress and had many other important clients. He returned to New York before World War II, where he became the first well-known fashion designer to put his brand on clothes in the United States after he opened a fashion house in New York City.

There are many first in America’s fashion scene. For instance, while Charles Goodyear was searching for a way to keep rubber from melting in the summer, he invented a way to add rubber to fabric so that it would stretch. In 1863, Luman Chapman received the first patent for a bra. In 1869, David Hough Jr. revolutionized women’s wear by introducing the hoop skirt.

American fashion designers continue to revolutionize what we wear regularly. You will want to follow many of them so that you can see their fabulous work.

Male fashion designers

Calvin Klein graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology. He became a fashion editor before opening his first clothing store with his business partner Barry Schwartz inside the York Hotel for $10,000. In order to prevent his clothes from getting wrinkled, Klein rolled a clothing rack 1.5 miles to meet with his first big client Mildred Custin who operated a department store. At the suggestion of a man he met at the iconic Studio 64, Klein started putting his name on jeans and sold over $200,000 in the first six days they were on the market.

Willi Smith died before receiving the credit he deserved for inventing American streetwear. The fashion designer got his first big breakthrough from his grandmother, who cleaned the house for Canadian couturier Arnold Scaasi. After doing a brief internship, he attended the Parsons School of Design for two years before getting kicked out for having a relationship with another male student. After working in several firms in the Garment District, he designed his WilliWear Pant that women instantly fell in love with, and soon, he was on to creating other unisex clothing designs.

Female fashion designers

Gloria Vanderbilt was a lady who excelled at many different things, including acting and being a Hollywood socialite. One of her earliest fashion designs appeared in Haper’s Bazaar when she was only 15 years old. She also made a lot of money from selling her name to be placed on perfume, jeans, and handbags. She studied at the Art Students League of New York and held at least two one-woman art exhibitions. In the fashion world, she created the first designer jeans for women. These pants were tapered to fit women’s curves and make them look sexy. She sold her brand for $35 million in 1998.

Kate Spade was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and studied at the University of Kansas and Arizona State University. While working at Mademoiselle as a fashion editor, she realized that women lacked choices in practical handbags and launched her line. After her marriage to her husband Andy, the pair opened Kate Spade New York. While they initially made bags with Scotch tape, they soon expanded into clothing, jewelry, shoes, stationery, eyewear, baby items, fragrances, and gifts. She committed suicide on June 5, 2018.

L’Wren Scott was adopted by a family and raised in Troy, Utah, where she was known as Laura Bambrough. She turned to fashion design as a child because she was 6 feet 3 inches tall when she was 12. She spent time working in Paris at fashion houses before returning to America. She is best remembered for her silky outfits with a very feminine form. She is also known for her practical tips in The Sunday Times, such as wearing a nude-colored shoe to make your legs look longer. She was the wife of Rolling Star legend Mick Jagger and committed suicide on March 17, 2014.

I will cover quotes from top fashion designers in the next chapter, so be sure to keep reading. You may find some beneficial advice to help you dress more fashionably.

High-End American Fashion Designers

Roy Halston Frowick was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and he took night classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He first developed his interest in hats by designing them for his mother and grandmother to wear. He quickly rose to popularity after designing the pillbox hat that Jacqueline Kennedy wore to her husband’s inauguration. After hats fell out of favor, he went on to open a Madison Avenue boutique that he was operating when millionaire Mary Wells picked him to design her jade green wedding gown for her wedding to Braniff International Airways, Harding Lawrence. While he designed Braniff’s stewardess uniform, he continued to work for many high-end clients, including Greta Garbo, Margaux Hemingway, Elizabeth Taylor, Bianca Jagger, and Liza Minnelli. Known simply as Halston, he revolutionized fashion by removing items from women’s clothing that did not work while allowing the fabric to drape naturally. While people will never forget his pillbox hat, he also was one of the first designers to make women’s pants fashionable for many occasions.

Elizabeth taylor smiling
Source: commons.wikimedia.org

James Galanos grew up in his parent’s restaurant in Southern New Jersey, surrounded by well-dressed women. After graduating from high school, he attended Traphagen School of Fashion for two years before working in the Garment District. After being disappointed in his job, which was more clerical than fashion design, he started selling his designs on the street for $10 per sketch. After opening Galanos Originals in 1952, he immediately received orders from high-end department stores. He is mainly known for putting fur coats over silky bodysuits. His clientele list included Marilyn Monroe, Nancy Reagan, Lady Bird Johnson, and Ivana Trump.

While both of these fashion designers have died, there are many luxury fashion designers that you will want to learn about, so be sure to keep reading. I have included a short bio on names that shaped American fashion. You can draw inspiration from many of the hardships they overcame on their way to success.


While these American designers and many others shaped women’s fashion worldwide, they also had interesting things to say, so be sure to keep reading. Some of the quotes that I have included are great fashion tips that you can apply to your current wardrobe, while others are inspirational quotes that you will want to apply to your life.

Quotes from American Fashion Designers

American fashion designers shaped the world in many ways. Some made it fashionable to wear blazers to a wedding, while others made it stylish to wear jeans any place. Many of them offered excellent fashion advice, and others were advocates for causes that they were passionate about. Let’s look at remarkable things American fashion designers have had to say.

I love learning about different people who have become successful because I find their stories very inspirational. One of the best ways to learn about people is to read the words they have spoken. I hope reading these fashion designers’ quotes will inspire you as they have me. Fashion reflects life, and these fashion designers seem to sense that their comments need to encourage people to build a better world together. You may even want to share these quotes on your social media feeds so that your friends can be inspired too.

Quote joseph abboud

Be well dressed, behave like a gentleman, and keep your shoes polished.

Joseph Abboud

In case you were in an accident, your mother may have told you to wear clean underwear, but fashion designer Joseph Abboud has slightly different advice. He says, “Be well dressed, behave like a gentleman, and keep your shoes polished.:” This Lebanese American designer who worked for Ralph Lauren before creating his line is the author of “Threads: My Life Behind the Seams in the High-Stakes World of Fashion,” which is a very enlightening look at the industry and being of Lebanese descent in America.

Quote donna karan

Delete the Negative and Accent the Positive.

Donna Karan

Donna Karan rose to the top of the Anne Klein company before launching her DKNY and her Urban Zen companies. Life has not always been easy for Donna Karan, as she was raised by her single mother after her father passed away when she was just three years old. Donna also went through a divorce when her daughter was little. Despite the negative, Donna has been quoted as saying, “Delete the Negative and Accent the Positive.”

Quote calvin klein

I won’t allow myself to have tremendous fear.

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein redefined American fashion in many ways, including making it fashionable to wear jeans in many places. He is quoted as saying, “I won’t allow myself to have tremendous fear.” He also stressed the long hours it takes to build a successful company and admitted that the only thing that mattered to consumers was the success of its latest line.

Quote halston

There are no problems, only opportunities.

Halston

After becoming successful, Halston signed a six-year deal with J.C. Penny. It was the first time that a high-end fashion designer had sold their products in a mid-priced department store, and many felt that it cheapened his name. In fact, high-end department store Bergdorf Goodman withdrew his line from their stores. Yet, Halstrom believed that “There are no problems, only opportunities.” After his death from AIDS, many organizations paid tribute to his work, including a show and reception at the Lincoln Center given by fashion models Liza Minnelli and Elsa Peretti.

Quote ralph lauren

Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren was born to Ashkenazi Jewish parents living in New York City. He started his career as a sales associate, but he is now estimated to be worth more than $7 billion. Numerous times, Lauren stressed the importance of creating a personal style that transcended the latest collections. He is quoted as saying, “Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.,” while building one of the most successful labels in the fashion world.

Quote tommy hilfiger

The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it’s possible to achieve the American dream.

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger worked a summer as a clerk at a Cape Cod clothing store before spending his entire savings of $150 to open his first store, which went bankrupt. Yet, he did not let that stop him and founded a second company using the lessons that he learned with his first failed attempt. This designer that is worth an estimated $450 million says that “The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it’s possible to achieve the American dream.”

Quote gloria vanderbilt

If one is telling the truth, there’s nothing to fear. It’s very freeing.

Gloria Vanderbilt

Gloria Vanderbilt was from the old Vanderbilt family. Yet, her father passed when she was only 18 months old. She dated Errol Flynn and Howard Hughes. When her son Anderson Cooper produced a documentary about his mother’s life, he says that he realized that the public and private figures were immensely different. A favorite quote from Gloria Vanderbilt is, “If one is telling the truth, there’s nothing to fear. It’s very freeing.”

I love this quote as it is how I try to lead my life. It amazes me that a woman with her power and wealth feels the same way.

Vera wang quote

Success isn’t about the end result; it’s about what you learn along the way.

Vera Wang

When she was hired, Vera Wang was the youngest editor at Vogue Magazine. She stayed in that position for 17 years before joining Ralph Lauren for two years. She was a national competitor in ice skating, barely missing the 1968 U.S. Olympic team. Yet, she is quoted as saying that “Success isn’t about the end result; it’s about what you learn along the way.” That is a lesson that we can apply to our lives to be better people, even if designing wedding dresses for celebrities is not our calling.

Quote anna sui

You have to focus on your dreams, even if they go beyond common sense.

Anna Sui

I will be sharing more about Anna Sui’s fantastic career in the next chapter, but I love the advice from this Chinese American designer raised in Detroit. It is true of every successful person. They have gone for their goals at some point, even if they did not seem logical. Therefore, if you have dreams to pursue and people want to argue with you, tell them Anna Sui says, “You have to focus on your dreams, even if they go beyond common sense.”


In the next chapter, we will take a deeper look into these designers, along with other industry giants. Therefore, you will want to keep reading as you want to know about their inspirational stories. They may encourage you to do a better job in your personal life and work.

Famous American Fashion Designers

Fashion designers are like artists, except that they work with fabric. Like other creative souls, they take inspiration from things. Most have very inspirational stories. This chapter will look at some of those stories from fashion designers who are megastars in their field.

Male Fashion Designers

I have already shared with you the inspirational stories of some male designers, like Halston, Calvin Klein, and Main Bocher, but there are many others that you will want to know about. The great news is that once you learn about their stories, you can follow many of them on social media, allowing you to keep up with the latest fashion trends.

Bob Mackie

Bob Mackle is best known as the designer who created all the clothes worn on the 11 seasons of the Carol Burnett show. He also designed dresses worn by Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune, and Whitney Houston, Cher, Diana Ross, and Barbara Streisand wore outfits he designed on tour. Mackle says that many overlook costuming as part of the fashion design industry. Like the nude dress he designed for Cher with its carefully placed sequins, Mackle’s clothes are for women who are not afraid to be noticed.

Cher elegant dress
Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Mackle was raised in California by his grandmother, who would lock him on the front porch to get some fresh air. His mother would visit on the weekends and take him to the movies. After spending time at two art schools and getting degrees from neither, Mackle, who loved to sketch evening gowns, got his first break in Hollywood in the movie Love is a Ball designing menswear. He was soon able, however, to switch to designing women’s clothes on The Judy Garland Show. That was only the beginning of this man’s career as he has created many gasp-worthy outfits.

Narciso Rodriguez III

As of 2022, Narciso Rodriguez III is the only fashion designer to have won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Designer of the Year award two years in a row. Rodriguez may be best known for the red dress that Michelle Obama wore in Chicago when her husband was elected president of the United States. She also wore a dress he designed for her first State of the Union speech. He later sold copies of the dress to the public, and they sold out in minutes. Julianna Margulies vividly remembers how much she loved her Rodriguez-designed wedding dress. She and many other celebrities that Rodriguez has worked with recall that he was so easy to work with and a true friend.

Rodriguez was born in New Jersey to parents of Cuban descent. After attending Parsons The New School for Design, he went to work for the Ann Klein company and rose to be their women’s design director. Rodriquez left that company and worked for Calvin Klien for a while before setting out on his own. He launched his brand after designing Carolyn Bessette’s wedding dress when she married John F. Kennedy Jr. He went bankrupt and sold a 50% share in his company for $1 million to Liz Clairborne to keep his company afloat. He was able to pay her back $12 million.

Dapper Dan

On August 6, 1944, Dapper Dan was born in Harlem, where his parents named him Daniel Day. After graduation, he intended to become a fashion wholesaler, but he discovered that many were not willing to sell to him because of his race or his Harlem location. Therefore, Dapper Dan taught himself as quickly as possible to design clothes. He was already bringing in hundreds a day as a gambler. Still, a 1974 trip to see Mohammed Ali fight in the Dominican Republic of Congo inspired Dapper Dan to become a fashion designer. He fell in love with the luxurious fabrics and designs made by a local tailor on that trip. He also credits the trip with giving him the knowledge that he could do a better job creating leather goods than the shops where laws prohibited his shopping because of his color. Dapper Dan soon began a process that allowed him to screen-print onto leather. In 1982, he opened his first store, but authorities closed it because he used knockoff logos.

He re-entered fashion design in 2010 and was soon known for creating clothes for hip-hop artists, including Eric B. & Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and Jay-Z. This led Time Magazine to name him one of the most influential people of 2020.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs had a rough New York City upbringing. His father died when he was 7 years old, and he describes his mother as having a mental illness. She remarried three times after Marc’s father’s death before Marc finally lived with his grandmother. He was only 15 when he became a stock boy for the upscale clothing store Charivari. He designed his first line of sweaters while attending Parsons School of Design. In 1987, he became the youngest person to receive the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent. From 1997 to 2013, he was associated with and became the head of the creative department at Louis Vuitton while simultaneously creating his lines of products.

Jacobs became one of the first fashion designers to admit that his creations shared common elements with clothes from earlier periods. He said that fashion never emerges full-blown from the head of just one individual. Jacobs’ lines can be described as street-wise, meaning they are a little mash-up of couture, prep, and grunge. Jacob and his partner live in a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Rye, New York.

Michael Kors

Woman phone bag street
Source: Carrita Tanner on Unsplash

Kors’ mother was a fashion model, and she believes that his early exposure to fashion may have influenced his career choice. He redesigned her wedding dress when he was only 5 years old. He began his business selling clothes out of his parent’s basement when he was still a teen. He attended the Fashion Institute of Technology for nine months before becoming a salesperson at a boutique clothing store. After launching his line at Bergdorf Goodman, he designed dresses for many of Washington D.C.’s elite, including Michelle Obama. Vice President Kamala Harris wore a black cape dress that he created for the Kenndy Center.

Michael Kors’ attention to detail is almost unsurpassed in the industry. When he debuted his first show in Autumn 1984, he did not believe it would show well against the background wall color at the venue he selected. Therefore, the night before the show, he repainted the wall. He was a judge on Project Runway for 10 seasons, where he would often deliver zingy one-liners. Kors describes his taste as a mixture of yin and yang, saying he prefers runway hot and at the same time timeless simplicity. While Kors is a billionaire, he also gives his money to organizations he supports, like God’s Love We Deliver, which delivers food to people with specific medical conditions.

Steve Madden

Steve Madden was born in Queens, New York. While still in high school, he worked in a shoe store and fell in love with the industry. After graduation, he went to the University of Miami for two years before returning to Long Island, where he worked for L.J. Simone for eight years. While working there, he attempted to launch a woman’s shoe company called Souliers.

He started the Steve Madden Company for $1,000 by selling 500 pairs of shoes that he designed out of the trunk of his car in 1990. One of the most successful shoes was the Mary Lou, which was very similar to the classical Mary Jane shoe. Stockbroker Danny Porush lent Madden money for his company and to take it public. He was arrested and served 40 months in jail because of stock manipulation. Yet, while he was in prison, he drew a salary of $70,000 per month as his company’s creative design head. You can learn more about this side of the story by watching The Wolf of Wall Street. Once released after serving 31 months, his company quickly rebounded.

Herve Pierre

You can think of Herve Pierre as a ghostwriter who has finally come out on his own. He worked for Carolina Herrera for 15 years after designing gowns for Oscar de la Renta. The reason that Herve Pierre has been able to break free is that he created the off-white gown that Ivana Trump wore to her husband’s inauguration. Still, he has also designed dresses for former first ladies Hilliary Clinton, Laura Busch, and Michelle Obama. Herve Pierre started at Balmain in Paris when he was 23 years old. He would send boxes of elaborately designed dresses to Thailand’s Queen Sirikit. He has also designed dresses for many Hollywood stars, including Renée Zellweger.

Herve was born in France, but he is very proud that he became an American citizen in 2016 after living in the country for many years. He says that much of his inspiration comes from his mother, who always told him never to be underdressed. That is advice that he follows to this day because he is usually seen walking through the Design District in a smart jacket and waistcoat with a flower in his lapel.

Ralph Lauren

Following a stint at Baruch College at the City University of New York, Ralph Lauren joined the United States Army. Then, he worked as a salesperson at Brooks Brothers and a necktie salesman at a small boutique. While working at the boutique, he created his first line of ties. Most manufacturers were selling thin ties made from cheap fabric, but Lauren went with traditional-width ties and made them from luxurious fabric. He made over $500,000 from selling his ties. Lauren wanted to look like a classic English gentleman, so he would alter his clothes as he could not afford the real ones.

He created his first line of polo shirts while working out of the Empire State Building. Ralph Lauren broke ground by opening the first flagship store by an American designer. The store is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. In 1976, Lauren was elected to the Coty Hall of Fame. Saks Fifth Avenue took out a congratulatory ad showing Lauren dressed in a tuxedo jacket and jeans. The designer quickly adopted it as his style and is often seen wearing it. In 1964, Lauren married Ricky Ann Low-Beer, and the couple has been together for more than 55 years.

Tom Ford

Tom ford facade store palm trees
Source: Rahul Bhogal on Unsplash

Tom Ford graduated from New York’s New School, and he set his ambitions on working for Cathy Hardwick. He called her every day for a month before she finally agreed to interview him. She asked him who his favorite European fashion designer was, and he quickly answered Chanel and Armani. Later, she asked him why he had given that answer, and he told her because that was what she was wearing. He moved on to Perry Ellis after working for Cathy Hardwick for two years. After working beside Marc Jacobs for two years, he felt led to move to Europe because he felt American fashion was tacky. He was hired as the women’s director at Gucci and soon expanded that role to become the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. After serving as the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford launched his own fashion design company in 2005. He quickly added many celebrities to those wearing his clothing, including Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Will Smith. At the same time that Ford was starting his fashion brand, he also became a film director.

Ford is very active as a Democrat. He openly supported President Obama and felt that the federal government should approve homosexual marriages.

Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh was born in Rockford, Illinois, to parents who had immigrated to the United States from Ghana. He held a master’s degree in civil engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He wrote a fashion blog to help pay his way through college. He also designed t-shirts. Abloh accidentally met Kayne West and developed a friendship with him that led him to introduce him to Michael Burke, the CEO of Louis Vuitton. In 2012, Abloh launched his first company calling it Pyrex Vision. He purchased merchandise that was not selling from the Ralph Lauren company, printed graphic designs on it, and sold it to the public. In 2013, he started his second fashion company, Off-White, which offered upscale streetwear.

In 2018, Abloh became the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear ready wear line. After his first show, he created an outfit that Serena Williams wore throughout the U.S. Open. He also designed Hailey Bieber’s wedding dress. In 2018, Time Magazine named this black fashion designer one of the world’s top 100 most influential people. That same year, Ebony named him as one of their top innovators. Unfortunately, Abloh passed away on November 28, 2021, from cancer.

Zac Posen

Zac Posen was born in New York City. As a small child, he would steal yarmulkes from his grandparent’s synagogue to make doll dresses. While still in high school, he did an internship with Nicole Miller before attending the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When he turned 18, he started attending the University of Arts London. His work gained early acceptance, and a dress he designed was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum while he was still a student. In 2001, he returned home and set up a workshop in his parent’s living room while living on the $15 a week that they gave him. He presented on a New York runway and received a $20,000 grant, which he used to create his first studio. The high-end luxury brand Sara John gave him his first major deal, and Ashley Olsen interned with him. As of 2022, the most significant order filled by Posen was designing the outfits worn by over 60,000 employees employed by Delta Airlines.

In addition to being a fashion designer, Zac Posen has also written a cookbook. He promises readers that his recipes are every bit as good as his clothing.

Female Fashion Designers

While fashion design in the United States continues to be a male-dominated career, there are numerous female fashion designers whose stories will inspire you. If you dream of being a fashion designer, you can apply lessons from their lives to your work. Alternatively, you may want to know more about these famous women and their work.

Betsey Johnson

Betsy johnson logo

Betsey Johnson started her career at Mademoiselle after winning a scholarship program. While most winners spend only 3 months in the program, Betsey had continued working at the magazine because one of the editors was on maternity leave. After hunting for a different place to live, she started supplementing her income by designing women’s tops, which became popular with the women at the magazine and readers of their periodical. She soon created what she nicknamed the Betsey girls look: a poofy tulle skirt, a slinky slip, and a baby-doll dress. The look was slightly roughed up with skulls, studs, or a leopard print. Her editor at Mademoiselle told her that Paul Young was looking for a fashion designer for a shop he planned to open to cater to British rock fans.

After a while, Johnson left the company and spent a short time at Alley Cat. She left there when she said that the company demanded that she use ugly fabric. Then, she went into partnership with Chantal Bacon, a former model, to operate her fashion stores. Finding herself heavily in debt, Steve Madden eventually purchased the company. While her clothes are memorable, she may be best remembered for the cartwheel she did, leaving every award and fashion week stage.

Norma Kamali

After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Norma Kamali quickly rose to fame for designing outfits made from silk parachute fabric. While on a camping trip with her husband Mohammed Houssein Kamali, she created her sleeping-bag dress that women could adjust in length using a drawstring. She changed the world of fashion by being the first fashion designer to open an eBay store. She may best be remembered for creating the little red swimsuit worn by Farrah Fawcett on her infamous poster that adorned the walls of every boy’s bedroom during the late 1970s. While she takes great pride in hiring diverse models, including those with gray hair, this fashion designer in her 80s strives to stay current, and Lizzo and J.Lo have worn her recent creations.

As relevant as her clothes are to women in many phases of their lives, the designer says that she is most proud of helping women feel empowered. This designer, who can still put her foot above her head at 75, says that after a bad day, she chooses to meditate, get an acupuncture treatment or a massage. Karmali says that she likes to travel light. She uses moleskin notebooks and felt-tipped pens to create her sketches because she finds them easy to carry throughout her five-story office.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy

Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy were raised in Northern California and attended the University of California Berkley. After graduation, they moved home, where they decided to become fashion designers. A friend invited them to stay with her in New York City. While there, they cut out and hand-colored outfits for paper dolls, which they sent to many fashion houses. The editors at Women’s Wear Daily saw the dolls and put them on the front of their publication the day before New York Fashion Week started.

Soon, the sisters had created their line of clothing, which they named Rodarte, after their mother’s maiden name. Kate says that her favorite pieces are the ones that were so hard to design that they say they will never do that again. For example, she cites the mermaid dress that they created with sand in the tulle. The duo designed the clothes for “Black Swan.” They say that is a different process because, in fashion design, you bring your ideas to life, while in costuming, you bring someone else’s ideas to life.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Another set of sister fashion designers is Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They may be better known for their television roles, but their passion lies in fashion design. In particular, Mary-Kate is known as the pioneer of the ashcan look, consisting of oversized sunglasses, boots, loose sweaters, and flowing skirts. They sell a clothing line in Walmart, which is sewn in Bangladesh. The sisters made news for being one of the first textile companies to offer full maternity leave for women sewing their clothes.

The row logo mary kate olsen

In 2006, they opened their own company and called it The Row, after London’s Savile Row, known for its bespoken-tailored menswear. The girls take their fashion industry work very seriously, and other designers have noted how they discovered a small niche market and are filling it beautifully. The girls say that they are deeply scarred by events that happened to them in Hollywood. They are frequently seen chain-smoking at fashion events and say they have no desire to act again, even though it made them millionaires before they were 10. Part of their secret of building The Row into a fashion line worn by the world’s elite is to shun publicity by choosing to appear at very few events annually. They also create a minimal line annually, which usually sells out quickly.

Monique Lhuillier

When Monique Lhuillier was planning her wedding to Tom Bugbee, she knew that she did not want a dress with lots of lace. Yet, she was very disappointed in the choices she found in the market, so this graduate of the Saint Theresa’s College and Chateau Mont-Choisi Finishing School in Lausanne, Switzerland, decided to design her wedding dress. Many guests left their business cards at the wedding, asking her to contact them about designing their wedding dresses. Soon, she designed wedding dresses and red-carpet gowns for Reese Witherspoon, Taylor Swift, Melania Trump, Katy Perry, and others. She and her husband operate a flagship store in Los Angeles, where she does most of her design work. The couple also runs a store in New York City. She has also designed pottery and home décor for nurseries and children’s rooms in cooperation with Pottery Barn Kids.

Monique says that the first step in her design process is to create a mood board. Then, she begins the draping process using silk, chiffon, and silk organza. Then, she works with a patternmaker and a live model to ensure that the wedding dress is what she has envisioned and that it moves well. The dress is first created from muslin before a paper pattern is completed, and the dress is cut and sewn using fabrics from around the world.

Nicky Hilton Rothschild

Nicky Hilton Rothschild was born into the Hilton family and, through her marriage to James Rothschild, makes her a member of this prestigious family. She is the younger sister of Paris Hilton, but two more children are younger than her.

Rothschild started creating handbags that she sold in collaboration with other fashion designers. She launched her first clothing line in 2006, calling it Chick because she says that Little Chick was her childhood nickname because of how she looked. Most of her first line consisted of graphic tees, with credit cards, diamonds, and money printed on them. In 2014, she launched a capsule collection of clothing, where she named each item after a member of her family. Especially when designing her handbags, Rothschild focused on using quality materials and timeless designs. She does not want to create anything that women cannot proudly use for several years. She is also the author of the book “365 Style,” giving tips and tricks that she has learned to help you look like you just stepped off a fashion runway every day. This book may be beneficial if you need to clean out your closet as it gives constructive advice about creating a functional wardrobe.

Vera Wang

Vera Wang was born in New York City to first-generation immigrants from China. She started figure skating when she was 8 years old. After barely missing the United States Olympics team in 1968, she became an editor at Vogue Magazine, where she continued to work for 17 years. Then, she went on to work for Ralph Lauren for two years before finally launching her own bridal design company when she was 40. She has made bridal gowns for many famous people, including Ivana Trump, Chelsea Clinton, Hilliary Duff, and Campbell Brown. She has also designed dresses worn by Michelle Obama. Wang describes the transition from journalist to fashion designer as painful. She says that she regularly makes decisions that seem small when designing outfits that have significant ramifications throughout her company and the vendors they choose.

While Wang is best known for her wedding dresses, she has also designed many ice skating outfits, including Nancy Kerrigan, Michelle Kwan, and Nathan Chan. She has also designed cheerleader uniforms for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tory Burch

Tory Burch was raised in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. While still in high school, she worked as a sales representative at Benetton in the King of Prussia Mall. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she moved to New York City, where she spent a short time working for Zoran, a Yugoslavian designer, Harper’s Bazaar, Vera Wang, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Loewe. She launched her clothing label in 2004. Most of her creations are preppy or Bohemian. She says she takes inspiration from her parents and travels around the world. Her dad operates on the New York Stock Exchange and owns a paper cup factory.

In 2009, Burch launched the Tory Burch Foundation. This program gives women living in the United States the knowledge and capital to succeed in business. The foundation operates a year-long fellowship allowing participants to network, get money and use resources to build their businesses. Several organizations sponsor the program, and the Tory Burch Company sells products in their stores that are specially designed to fund this program.

Kate Spade

Kate spade logo

Kate Spade was born Katherine Noel Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 24, 1962. After graduating from college with a degree in journalism, Spade spent five years working for Mademoiselle magazine. She was initially in charge of their accessory pieces but eventually became a senior editor. In 1993, she opened a small boutique in New York City’s SoHo district to sell handbags she designed. Her husband, who she fell in love with after giving him a ride home when his car broke down, was her business partner. While the couple was dining at a Mexican restaurant, he asked her about starting a handbag company, and the idea was hatched. They grew the business to include several items, including sunglasses and shoes. The company was sold to the Neiman Marcus Group in 1999.

Spade released three books in 2004, which her husband widely promoted while Spade worked diligently at raising the couple’s son. Then, the couple started Plum TV before launching a new fashion company in 2016. The company called Frances Valentine often sold Mickey Mouse-themed outfits. On June 5, 2018, she was found dead from an apparent suicide. The next day her husband announced that Kate had been battling severe depression and that the two were living separately.


I sincerely hope you enjoyed learning more about these American designers. You will want to keep reading because I will share some ideas on popular American fashion brands, and you will want to see this list.

Conclusion

Have you thought about being a fashion designer? As you have read the stories of these famous American fashion designers, I hope you got a sense of their passion for designing clothes. They did not let lack of money or other issues stand in their way of success, and many built highly successful companies.

Even if you do not want to be a clothing designer, I hope you came away with an idea or two that you can apply to your own life to be more successful. If you have any questions, I would love to answer them.

Think about a friend who can use a little uplifting as they are struggling and share this post with them. It is sure to encourage them as they go through a rough patch.

I hope you will take some time to read my other posts. Each is filled with informative content designed to help you look more fashionable.

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