Vera Wang is a fashion designer based out of New York City. Born and raised in New York City, Wang is the child of wealthy Chinese immigrants. Her father was an executive in the pharmaceutical industry and her mother was the child of a Chinese warlord and worked as a translator for the United Nations. The couple fled China during the Communist revolution, eventually settling on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Vera was educated at prestigious private schools -- Sarah Lawrence, the Sorbonne, and Columbia -- and was a competitive ice skater, even competing at the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. However, when she didn’t make the 1968 Olympic team, she “looked to fashion to replace it.”
Wang was hired to be an editor at Vogue immediately upon graduation from Sarah Lawrence College, making her the youngest editor at that magazine. She stayed at Vogue for 17 years, leaving in 1987 to join Ralph Lauren, for whom she worked for 2 years. At 40 she resigned and became an independent bridal wear designer, offering made-to-order wedding gowns as well as bridesmaids dresses and accessories. Endless celebrities have been married in a Vera Wang dress, including Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Alicia Keys, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Uma Thurman, and Mariah Carey, as well as political daughters Karenna Gore and Chelsea Clinton. Wang has stated that she felt at the time that she could fill a void in the bridal industry, saying: "It just had not evolved. There was no modernity of necklines, there was no understanding of the tailoring. There was no relationship between a wedding dress and fashion."
After a few years, Wang began to push her bridal brand beyond dresses, into related retail ventures: china, silver, bedding, and fragrance -- all the things a chic newlywed might need. Wang also designs for the red carpet and figure skaters. Nancy Kerrigan wore Wang for the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics, and Michelle Kwan wore her designs for the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics. Wang was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009 for her contribution to the sport as a costume designer.
Perhaps her greatest achievement, however, has been to retain a very refined brand image and air of exclusivity while pushing a quite democratic agenda. In 2007, she partnered with the affordable department store Kohl’s to launch Simply Vera, a less-expensive ready-to-wear clothing and accessories line. She also has a line at David's Bridal, White by Vera Wang, which launched in 2011 and gives brides a less expensive way to wear Wang's legendary bridal designs.
She was honored with the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
In 2018, Forbes placed her 34th in the list of America's Richest Self-Made Women.
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