VIDEO: Fashion Mogul Tory Burch Talks Design With Martha Stewart
Fashion designer Tory Burch, 46, is popping up everywhere these days, so it was no surprise when she made an appearance at Martha Stewart's inaugural "American Made" event, celebrating local food, fashion and design at Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall on Wednesday morning, alongside fashion giants Calvin Klein and Ralph Rucci.
Burch, Stewart and company talked about the future of the design industry and the value of new, innovative ideas in sustaining growth and success. Burch, who comes from humble beginnings on a Valley Forge, Pa., farm and built her eponymous global empire from her kitchen eight years ago while also raising six children, reminded her fellow panelists that, amid all the radical innovation talk, regional trends play a huge part, reports the Daily Mail. There's a big difference, she said, between the skimpy bikinis loved by Brazilian woman and the more modest stylings of the Middle East.
Even Stewart listened up because, at the end of the day, Burch knows her stuff. She and her ex-husband since 2006, Chris Burch, 59, launched Tory Burch in February 2004 with $2 million of their own startup capital and another $10 million that they quickly raised from investors. "I had never been to business school," she told NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams. "I had never been to design school. It was a risk. It was putting myself out there in a way that was opening myself up for criticism. I'm a sensitive person. So, it was hard."
Also hard is the bitter lawsuit that has now been filed against her company by ex Chris, who launched his own fashion design company, C. Wonder, that many have called disturbingly derivative of Tory Burch's style. Chris is also still a majority shareholder of Tory Burch, LLC., but his lawsuit claims that his ex-wife and her company interfere with his business operations.
"Some of it is too referential," Burch, who briefly dated Lance Armstrong after her split from Chris, said of C. Wonder. "And I think that he's going to be changing that, and some of it is great," she told NBC. "So, I think it's about finding a balance of what is ok with us and what works for him."
If Burch's response sounds overly diplomatic, that's just part of her personality, and part of the reason her fashion brand is so popular, many believe. "People love her," said Johanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. "They want to be her. They want her life. And she's really nice."
Burch's empire is currently worth an estimated $2 billion, and her designs, which have been endorsed by Oprah Winfrey and worn by A-listers everywhere, are carried in over 1,000 department stores, including Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
Watch Burch talk about her fashion line here:
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