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The BoF Podcast | Stan Herman on a life in fashion

The BoF Podcast |  Stan Herman on a life in fashion


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Stan Herman may be 95 years old, but the designer, activist and former president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America remains an unstoppable force. Her recent memoir, Uncross Your Legs: A Life in Fashion details her journey through the American fashion industry, including hosting New York Fashion Week at Bryant Park.

This week on The BoF Podcast, Herman joins BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed to reflect on his remarkable life and career and to talk about how big business has changed the fashion industry.

With so much money flying around, it changed the whole nature of the business, he says. Once we anointed designers as superstars, once big business and Wall Street put on their cashmere gloves, fashion was never the same.

Key ideas

  • Herman, who grew up in a Jewish family in New Jersey, traces his initial interest in fashion to his parents. His father owned several silk stores. His mother died when he was just 12, but while writing his book he discovered that she was a talented seamstress. I discovered things about her that I never knew. How she sewed, how she made patterns on the floor, how she knew how to cut a dress on the bias, he remembers. We didn't have much money at the time and she made a lot of house dresses that she lived in.
  • Herman's career includes designing ready-to-wear clothing under the Mr. Mort brand and creating uniforms for America's largest companies. I lived this designer life with an intellectual school teacher and mapped out my life, he says. I worked for eight years in a company, then I was first third designer, second designer. I learned the hard way.
  • In 1991, Herman became president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a position he held for 16 years. During his time at the CFDA, New York Fashion Week was born, initially held in a cluster of white tents in Bryant Park. This park became my life in New York for me, he said. It's never been the same since they left Bryant Park. But it doesn't matter, things change.

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