Betsey Johnson is an American fashion designer who was born in 1942. She’s best known for her super ‘feminine’ and whimsical designs. A for people refer to them as over the top. Those just aren’t her people (insert smirk). She’s also super well known for doing cartwheels that end in the splits at the end of each of her fashion shows ! It’s pretty much her signature move.
Fun Fact: She initially wanted to be a dancer and took a ton of dance classes but through it she found her love for costumes and decided to get into fashion. Now ya know why her designs are deemed over the top; they’re costumey on purpose.
She studied fashion at the Pratt Institute but ended up graduating from Syracuse University. After graduation she was able to intern at Mademoiselle magazine and get a ton of real-world experience. After about a year she was deemed the in-house designer for a little boutique in Manhattan named Paraphernalia.
Fun Fact: She has been married 3 times but always keeps her name, professionally, as is; last name Johnson.
In 1969 at the age of 27 she opened up her own boutique in New York called Betsey Bunky Nini. Shortly after, she took control of a fashion label called Alley Cat and began making designs for rockstars.
In 2002 Johnson was inducted into the Fashion Walk of Fame and the year after is when she expanded her line into handbags and other accessories. Handbags have been her golden goose ever since !
In 2009 she earned Lifetime Achievement award for her fashion from the National Arts Club which was a pretty big deal and as of 2011, she’s in at least 65 stores worldwide ! Although she filed for bankruptcy in 2012, the brand is still up and going.
Fun Fact: Betsey is a long term breast cancer survivor.
Just like with anything else there’s a lot of different ways to be great. That’s why there’s room for many Greats like Versace or Marc Jacobs. So today we’re going to put you on to several different ways one can qualify as a great designer.
Great designers have stellar observation skills. Their intense curiosity for the world around them and how people function causes them to be extra attentive to all ocular sensations. They especially use their observation skills to figure out how they can make already good things, great.
Great designers are excellent listeners. They want to know what matters to consumers when it comes to both functionality and beauty. They take other suggestions into consideration while also understanding that people often don’t know exactly what they want. As Henry Ford kind of probably said, “if I asked the people what they wanted they would’ve said faster horses.”
Great designers are self-motivated. They have everything it takes already within them to turn an idea into an actual tangible piece ready to be gifted or sold.
Great designers understand context. Context is what helps us make sense of things we don’t currently understand. It’s the extra details that help us decide if something is relevant or not.
Great designers find solutions. All of the observing, listening and discerning context would be completely useless if they never used it to find solutions to current fashion problems ! My personal favorite fashion solution is pockets for dresses.
Great designers aren’t boxed in by rules. They aren’t trying to create with the current trends in mind. Their goal is to either create or accurately predict the future of fashion.
Great designers have thick skin. You will never be able to create a piece that caters to the taste of every fashionista on earth. Great designers know how to accept criticism or even downright disdain without giving up their authenticity.
Great designers don’t pretend to know everything. “The man who claims to know everything knows nothing at all.” Somebody great said something like that. It goes for all areas of life including fashion.
Do you have a favorite fashion designer ? Let us know in the comments !