Dee Ocleppo

“For me, it’s personal,” explained Dee Ocleppo, speaking on her renewed commitment to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “It really is about saving lives.”

The designer, businesswoman wife to Tommy Hilfiger has long supported the BCRF, and has launched a program to donate 10 percent of a year’s revenue of her Dee Ocleppo accessories line to the organization.

Ocleppo is involved with numerous charities, but when she was thinking of whom to partner with she considered her history with the BCRF, noting, “it was a natural fit.”

Kicking off in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ocleppo’s initiative runs for a full year without any cap on the total donation — 10 percent of her total sales across all categories will be donated to the BCRF.

Founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993, BCRF has funded investigators who have been involved in major breakthroughs in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and metastasis. This year, BCRF has awarded $66 million in grants to support the work of nearly 275 scientists at leading medical and academic institutions across 14 countries, making BCRF the largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide.

“I was absolutely thrilled when I heard about Dee’s partnership with BCRF,” said Leonard Lauder, BCRF honorary chairman and chairman emeritus of The Estée Lauder Cos. “I am proud to see a friend so near and dear to my heart join a cause so near and dear to my heart. We are going to end breast cancer…together.”

Ocleppo, who also is part owner, creative director and brand ambassador of the Judith Leiber brand, launched her namesake label in 2018 as a direct-to-consumer, accessibly priced line of Italian-made accessories for women and men with an e-commerce sales strategy.

Last year saw her expand the brand’s retail footprint into wholesale in Europe, where it has been one of the best-selling new brands at El Corte Inglés in Spain.

Recently Ocleppo opened a showroom in Milan, and increased her spring orders, including being picked up at Kadewe in Berlin and La Rinascente in Milan. According to Ocleppo, new embossed clutch styles with an updated logo hardware and her “Cinderella” shoes, with an ombre sequin treatment, saw the most traction with buyers.

While expanding into wholesale can adjust the price to the end consumer for many digital based brands, Ocleppo plans to keep the same accessible prices she launched with e-commerce.

“I’m not trying to reinvent anything here. I’m trying to provide nice, classic, quality Italian-made products at a great price point. It’s kind of that simple,” she said of the brand.

For now, her sights are set on helping the BCRF. “Hopefully with this program, it will broaden our range and bring more attention to supporting the cause.”

“By partnering with the highest-rated breast cancer organization in the country, Dee Ocleppo is making a significant and tangible impact in advancing research to save lives, not just in October, but all year round,” said Myra Biblowit, BCRF president and chief executive officer.

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