Fashion Designer REBECCA MINKOFF
As a globally worn fashion designer with over a decade of success in the fashion industry, Rebecca Minkoff hardly needs any introduction. That said we could not be more thrilled to have her on Episode 3 of #HangingOut, to shed a light on what it truly takes to make it in the concrete jungle.
Having moved to the Big Apple at the tender age of 18, Rebecca knows that the city can make or break you. Lead by her dream to design fashion, her version of the "I Love New York" shirt became a sensation in 2001. Four years later marked the birth of her most iconic bag up to date: the Morning After Bag, carried and adored by fashionistas around the globe.
After focusing on handbags to kick off her career, Rebecca introduced apparel to her label in 2009. Today her "downtown-romantic" ready-to-wear lines and accessories are a global success, as she runs the company together with her brother Uri Minkoff.
Lucky for us, she found the time to talk fashion, fearless women and family business:
What was your dream job growing up?
What's the best thing about your job?
Never a dull moment!
What's the worst thing about your job?
I think when I was starting out, I used to get really bummed if a style that I really believed in didn’t perform well. Now, I’ve learned to roll with the punches.
If you had to pick a different career today, what would it be?
I love what I do, so I wouldn’t change it, but if I didn’t do this, I think I would be a private eye, I love to investigate!
You moved to NYC to pursue your dream of becoming a fashion designer. Do you think it’s essential to go to fashion school to work in this industry?
No, the fashion industry has evolved over time and become increasingly diverse which allows for many different opportunities. If the passion is there and the openness to learn, you can go a long way.
What is the starting point of a new collection? Where do you find inspiration?
Determining new trends is just a feeling, and sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong. Much of my inspiration comes from traveling and the people or photographers I find. I’m always paying close attention to the prints or patterns in my surroundings.
Do you have a specific kind of woman in mind when you design, or are your designs inspired by your personal style?
She is a fashion-forward, modern women around the world. With ready-to-wear, handbags, footwear, jewelry, and tech accessories, my unique vision for the brand is singularly focused on my ideal millennial girl, who experiences all of life’s exciting moments, with her confident, go-anywhere, do-anything attitude.
Fashionistas around the world love your iconic “Morning After Bag”. Do you have any other favorite pieces among your collections?
Our wes moto jacket- it’s an essential wardrobe staple.
You are a designer, mom, active member of the CFDA and support multiple philanthropies. How does a typical business day look like for you?
It’s hard to describe it because there really isnt a typical day! Not ever. But I like that. I focus on the design and PR for my company. So it can go from designing bags, to being in a FW mtg to then changing hats all together by working on the iconic Essie Polish Shades as I am their Global Color Designer.
For many people, running a business with their sibling probably sounds like a lot of potential conflicts. How do you separate business and family?
Being raised with the same values, my brother and I work very well together. Whether you're best friends or family, you have to know your strengths and weakness and know you’re joining forces someone with the opposite skill set so you are able to create a complete package as possible.
Today your brand has over 750k followers on Instagram alone. How did the power of Social Media impact your career and the success of your brand?
I saw the opportunity to reach my target audience on social media in a way that felt organic and natural to her. Since my customer is a female millennial, she is a digital native and I wanted to speak to her in a way that made the most sense to her because she has grown up online, she is comfortable with it and she is responsive to it. From there I have continued to incorporate not just what I am wearing on social media, but also showcasing what my customers are wearing, highlighting how influencers style my products, and directly highlighting new products that make the most noise each season
Influencers have gained huge importance for fashion brands. Who do you or would you love to see in your designs? Any girl crushes?
All of my girl crushes are strong, fearless women, many of which I have been lucky enough to dress already. One of them being Aimee Song who recently opened and closed our runway show in LA.
It is often said that if you want to work in fashion, you have to go to New York. You moved here when you were 18 – any advice on how to make it in such a cut-throat city?
When I was 18, I moved to New York City to pursue my dream of becoming a fashion designer to do an internship with Craig Taylor. At night, I also took design classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but only for three semesters. I realized I knew what to do and while I might not have been the best, I knew how to promote myself. You can’t be shy in this industry and I’ve always favored a bold course of action.
Rebecca Minkoff is a global, multi-facetted brand. What are your dreams and hopes for the future – for both you and the company?
I’ve been lucky enough to design and sell to the strong millennial woman who is our consumer but my goal continues to be to empower her even more to follow her dreams.