Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's in An Age?

I’ve had a week in Sydney to ponder just what I’ve gotten myself into. It was a fairly relaxing week - lots of sightseeing, touring and walking - but the clothing line, my new business, was always on my mind.

I think one of the questions that has been asked of me, and I ask of myself, is, quite simply, am I too old to do this? Let’s face it, I’m probably the only “new” designer out this season that is an AARP member. I’ve also been told that “fashion is for the young”, “you’ve got a good business now, why would you want to start another?”, or, the one I love, “you won’t have the energy to do it.” I’ve pondered every statement and piece of well-meaning good advice I’ve received and I decided that there was no really good reason not to do it. I mean, fashion may be for the young, but does that mean I have no right to do it? There are some very talented kids out there (and for purposes of this blog, that means anyone under forty); however, at the same time, almost all of the most influential designers working today are older than I (Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar de la Renta, Armani, to name a few). In fact, even Marc Jacobs is in his forties. So, after much thought about the “age thing”, I felt that it didn’t hold water. Anyway, I feel that I’m in one of the most creative times of my life - I just have to remember not to let others tell me that I’m not.

I’ve got a good thing going with my collectible business. It’s now almost eighteen years old. Sure there are always challenges, but over the years, we’ve been able to meet those challenges and move ahead. I have a very talented staff that is willing and able to do more - I’m very lucky that way. My established business can help me build the new one - it just makes sense to me.

When I left the garment business, I knew I could not go back if I had to work for someone else. This time, I’m doing it for me, and doing clothing the way I want.

There is one other thing. Before I decided to do this, I spent a couple of hours talking to Gene Simmons (yes, of Kiss). I flew to California to meet with him to discuss a licensing deal. He listened to me talk about plans for my company, about where we were headed and all, and he finally said to me, “You need to think bigger.” He then proceeded to rattle off about ten great business ideas. Regardless of whether or not any one of the ideas was right for my business, that wasn’t the point. The point was think big, and think often! I decided on the plane trip back that I had to give this a shot. So, thanks, Gene.


  1. Robert, no one is ever too old, especially if one has desire and passion--which you possess. Your collectibles are amazing, and I adore the ones I am luck enough to have. The fashion designs were even more remarkable, and you literally took my breath away. Beauty personified--that's what you create. Your work is such an inspiration and joy to me and thousands of others--so, please, do not allow anyone to derail you. In the end, creativity can never really be stopped anyway, and you have so much to offer the fashion world.

  2. Did you ever see the movie with Albert Brooks - "Defending your Life?"

    I've always thought the message was profound - most failures are born in fear. Young people are often unable to grasp the consequences of failure and thus have little fear.

    The older we get, the more likely we are to step back from risk - we know too well the dangers out there.

    Gene Simmons is a smart man. Think bigger and build on your strengths. Create what you love, not what you think people might like or buy.

    With love - Auntie

  3. As a huge fan of your collectibles (and now your fashion line, as soon as I can find it in stores), I find your blog inspirational. I'm a 36 year-old mother of four who is just now getting a chance to do what she wants in life, and I think it's never too late. Thank you!

    And wait--a licensing deal--with Gene Simmons of Kiss? Score! :)