WWD.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/rules-to-live-by-744721/
government-trade
government-trade

Rules to Live By

While much of discourse at the summit was about the serious business issues at hand, there was also a more mischievous spirit unique to the fashion industry. This is a creative business, after all, and many of the designers who dropped by had their...

View Slideshow

While much of discourse at the summit was about the serious business issues at hand, there was also a more mischievous spirit unique to the fashion industry. This is a creative business, after all, and many of the designers who dropped by had their own theories on fashion’s new rules.

This story first appeared in the November 18, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Narciso Rodriguez, for instance, pointed to his feet. “White shoes in winter,” he said. Men’s wear stalwart Joseph Abboud, who recently entered a lawsuit with JA Apparel, said: “The rule I always said I’d follow is that I would never speak to the press, and I’ve broken it every time I’ve picked up the phone.”

“Every season, my rule is that I think I’m going to quit,” said Anna Sui, describing the intense atmosphere that surrounds the preparation of each collection. “But then you see a piece of fabric or get an idea, and the whole thought of quitting goes out the window.”

Bill Blass designer Lars Nilsson, standing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, said: “I don’t really know what the rules are. I guess one could be short for spring and long for fall.”

John Varvatos said he thought consumers were now more demanding than ever, requiring better quality and value in their purchases, as well as more service. “It’s basically a pain in the ass,” he said. “But people who step up to the plate and deliver will be successful.”

Others were more philosophical. Barry Bly, president of the Montreal company Zenobia, for instance, called himself a “total contrarian. Look, I started a business when everybody else says it’s the worst time to do it,” he said.

Jack Mitchell, chairman and chief executive officer of Mitchells of Westport, said he doesn’t have any rules, “only principles,” except for one. “I do have a rule that you can’t just come into the family business because your name is Mitchell. You had to work somewhere else for five years and it has to be a real job.”

Less forthcoming was Bill Ghitis, president of apparel at DuPont Textiles & Interiors. “I’m not going to tell you,” he said, “because I think I could get into a lot of trouble.”

While much of discourse at the summit was about the serious business issues at hand, there was also a more mischievous spirit unique to the fashion industry. This is a creative business, after all, and many of the designers who dropped by had their own theories on fashion’s new rules.

Narciso Rodriguez, for instance, pointed to his feet. “White shoes in winter,” he said. Men’s wear stalwart Joseph Abboud, who recently entered a lawsuit with JA Apparel, said: “The rule I always said I’d follow is that I would never speak to the press, and I’ve broken it every time I’ve picked up the phone.”

“Every season, my rule is that I think I’m going to quit,” said Anna Sui, describing the intense atmosphere that surrounds the preparation of each collection. “But then you see a piece of fabric or get an idea, and the whole thought of quitting goes out the window.”

Bill Blass designer Lars Nilsson, standing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, said: “I don’t really know what the rules are. I guess one could be short for spring and long for fall.”

John Varvatos said he thought consumers were now more demanding than ever, requiring better quality and value in their purchases, as well as more service. “It’s basically a pain in the ass,” he said. “But people who step up to the plate and deliver will be successful.”

Others were more philosophical. Barry Bly, president of the Montreal company Zenobia, for instance, called himself a “total contrarian. Look, I started a business when everybody else says it’s the worst time to do it,” he said.

Jack Mitchell, chairman and chief executive officer of Mitchells of Westport, said he doesn’t have any rules, “only principles,” except for one. “I do have a rule that you can’t just come into the family business because your name is Mitchell. You had to work somewhere else for five years and it has to be a real job.”

Less forthcoming was Bill Ghitis, president of apparel at DuPont Textiles & Interiors. “I’m not going to tell you,” he said, “because I think I could get into a lot of trouble.”

View Slideshow