How she got there: Fashion designer, Vera Wang
As the daughter of Chinese immigrants, Vera grew up on the Upper East Side of New York, US.
Throughout her teen years, Vera was an exceptional figure skater, narrowly missing out on her Olympic dreams in 1968. Setting aside her figure skating ambitions, Vera went on to study a History degree at college, landing a job with Vogue magazine once she graduated. After only one year, she was promoted to Senior Fashion Editor – a position
she held for 15 years. Her next career step was with Ralph Lauren, as a Design Director for accessories.
At 40, Vera married Arthur Becker, but she was frustrated with the limited bridal selection. She therefore took matters into her own hands, sketching a design and commissioning a dressmaker to tailor it for US$10,000. After discovering a hidden talent, Vera opened her own bridal boutique a year later in the upscale Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue, New York.
Her original love of figure skating bridged her name to international fame, after designing figure skater Nancy Kerrigan’s clothing in the 1994 Olympics. During this period, Vera was introducing more lines, including an elegant evening wear line and Vera Wang Made to Order. Her business has since expanded, after launching a number of fragrances, lingerie, jewellery, and home products lines.
Now, Vera is a fashion giant with a huge global following, and her gowns are regularly worn by high-profile celebrities at red carpet events. She is one of America’s richest self-made women, with a net worth of US$650mn.