i have been a Betsey Johnson girl since i was a kid..as soon as i came into my pre-teens and got into fashion i wanted to wear Betsey Johnson..her designs definitely attract a broad spectrum from very young girls to older women..their was only two boutiques in Miami at that time one in Coconut Grove the other in South Beach..i would always beg my mom to buy me a dress from their and in a rare case she caved and did..i bought the cutest cherry red satin baby doll dress which i have till this day..and at the time it carried a price tag of $100 allot for my mom (thanks mommy)..but now a days her prices are far from that range..
at the age of 17 (1994) i heard of an opening at the Betsey Johnson store in South Beach i was sooo excited, because at that time i was not working for too long in retail..i was anxious at the possibilities of getting my foot through the door since i new how very hard it was in landing a job there..most of the Betsey girls stay on very a long time making it a career and even moving up within the company..i did not get the job at that time which truly bummed me out but just a few weeks later to my surprise i received a phone from the Coconut Grove store to come in for an interview..the manager at the South Beach store recommended me because she loved my style (i was wearing a vintage dress with combat boots) and personality and needless to say i jumped for joy when i got the job..
i felt like i was on top of the world at that time because i was working at Betsey Johnson, making decent money, getting an amazing discount and racking up on clothes and i was going to Fashion Design school all by the age of 17..Betsey was one of my many inspirations on why i went to school for design..it was a cool time in my life until bad decisions took me on a different road..(but that’s another story)..
when it comes to why i’m inspired by Betsey the reasons are that i admire how she she built her brand from the ground up..she studied art but fell into design..her illustrations shows the artist that she is..
Betsey was part of the NY Warhol scene and married John Cale from The Velvet Underground which Warhol started..she was designing for the boutique Paraphernalia did styling for the Velvet Underground and had Edie Sedgwick for a fit model
she then went to open up a boutique called Betsey Bunky Nini, designed under many other labels like Alley Cat and very properly the dance brand Capezio and made patterns for Butterwick (which i need to get my hands on)..until she formed her own brand label Betsey Johnson in 1978..
one of my favorite vintage Betsey era’s is the 80’s where she came out with her big cherry prints, flowers & skulls..i also loved all the dance inspired designs like her body suits, jumpers and corseted tops..so lucky for us Opening Ceremony came out with Betsey Archives which is on sale right now but i think i’d rather hunt down for the real vintage….
Betsey designs of things she loves which shows in her prints and has always stayed true to her quirkiness which is why it’s worked..she has been able to maintain a loyal following and has built her brand by staying connected with the fun girl inside of us..from her beginnings she marketed herself by wearing her designs in the NY scene and truly beats to her own drum in the fashion world..she inspires me..
source: ebay, wmagazine, fidm, butterwick, opening ceremony