Business Mentoring Matters

Vera Wang, A Mentor And A Mentoree

Posted on Fri, Mar, 05, 2010

Fashion designer Vera Wang was not always dreaming of becoming a high profile designer.  In fact, her passion had been figure skating and during her youth and teenage years Vera Wang skated competitively.  After high school, Vera stopped skating despite her immense skating talent and shared with her parents a dream of going to art school. Unfortunately, her parents were not pleased with her newly chosen career path.  Therefore, she enrolled at New York’s Sarah Lawrence College and earned a degree in art history. After college, Vera was hired at Vogue magazine where her prestigious career debuted. In 1972, she was promoted to editor and was recognized as one of the youngest editors in the magazine’s history. After 16 years at Vogue, Vera decided it was time to move on.  Vera quite working at Vogue, and became creative director for Ralph Lauren.  At one point, she also held the title of design director for accessories.  Vera learned a great deal about the design end of the fashion industry by her mentor, Ralph Lauren.  After two years Vera decided to leave Ralph Lauren.  Shortly after, while planning her wedding, Vera realized how important it is for brides to find the “right” wedding gown after experiencing difficultly finding hers.  From that experience her inspiration grew and she decided to create her own designs. With financing from her father and knowledge gained from her mentor, Vera Wang launched a bridal line bearing her name in 1990.  Today, her bridal company has two lines: the ready to wear bridal dresses and the more extravagant couture bridal line called Vera Wang Made to Order.  Vera Wang has also expanded her business to include fashion, accessories, tabletop housewares and stationary.  And if that is not enough, Vera Wang has also made her mark creating costume designs for several US Olympians.  Her first creation was for Olympian Nancy Kerrigan. Following those spectacular designs, Vera Wang created multiple costumes for Olympian Michelle Kwan.  Recently, her designs were worn by gold medalist Evan Lysacek during his performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  During one of his interviews, Evan Lysacek was quoted as saying “Vera’s been such a good mentor to me, and she knows so much about skating.”  Kudos to Vera Wang for not only seeking out a mentor in her earlier years, but for also becoming a mentor herself!  Who are you mentoring?   

Tags: Mentors & Mentorees