Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Inside the lives of the fashion world's elite
There are many Jewish fashion designers all around the world. Some of the most famous include Americans Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg and Ralph Lauren.
But many people don’t know that these designers’ Jewish heritage and where they came from are important parts of who they are and what they do.
For example, Karan, 64, grew up as the daughter of working mother, which was unusual for that era, as her father had died when she was only three years old.
Seeing her mother provide for her family is one of the things that made her the strong businesswoman she is today.
The same goes for Diane von Furstenberg.
Her mother was a strong Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust and gave birth to Diane only 18 months after she was liberated from a concentration camp.
Diane headlined a 2011 UJA Federation event in New York, where she said her mother had a strong influence on her and her siblings when they were growing up, and she always tried to teach them that “fear is not an option.”
Von Furstenberg added that she tells her own children to “be independent… and accountable… that is the first step to freedom.”
When it comes to the Lauren, the iconic founder of Polo, many people don’t realize that he’s Jewish because of his last name.
But Lauren wasn’t his original last name. Surprisingly, it was Lifshitz.
When the topic comes up, Lauren often gets asked if he changed his last name because he didn’t want to be recognized as a Jewish person.
His answer is, invariably, “Absolutely not!”
Lauren has said that his older brother (who was his guardian at the time) changed their last name when Ralph was 12 years old, because they were teased about it. Lauren says his cousins changed their last name to Lawrence for the same reason.
Lauren has made a name for himself in the fashion industry, and in 2011, he was No. 2 on a list of the top 25 highest-paid CEOs compiled by Forbes magazine.
Lauren, raking in almost $67 million annually, is one of the most successful and well-known Jewish fashion designers ever.
Karan, von Furstenberg and Lauren are just a few very successful Jews who have proved they’re able to make a name for themselves with hard work and a strong Jewish family and values behind them.