Farewell Betsey Johnson

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I couldn't believe the words I was reading. "Bankruptcy?" No, no, no, no and again no. How could this happen to the woman and clothing line that inspired who I am? How could no investors want to keep the brand alive?

Working at the Betsey Johnson brand was (and still is) a life time dream for me. To just have a moment to be in the presence of the most fierce woman in fashion, would mean the world. My current aspirations were to franchise one of her boutiques here in Asia. I've always felt such a connection to Betsey and the brand. Even my VERY first post for this blog was about the Betsey Johnson Trunk show I attended! In college I did my Brand Marketing final on her. I remember my male fashion instructor being quite frightened and non understanding of what made Betsey so special. He preferred more of the classic Tom Ford style: suits. cardigans, sweaters, scarves, so seeing me so estatic in presenting Betsey Johnson was not something he knew was coming. After seeing my enthusiastic presentation he then understood what made the BJ aesthetic so captivating.

I feel so connected to Betsey because she is me at 60. When I'm her age I want to be doing cartwheels and running back and forth to showrooms. She didn't let cancer stop her from reaching her dreams. I will truly miss the Betsey Johnson brand. Though the runway will now longer be, the BJ licensing agreements will continue.

So with this whole bankruptcy thing, apparently investors didn't like the idea of making the brand mass market. Now I agree with this but I don't feel its any different than what's happening with many of the ongoing BJ licensing agreements now. BJ can be bought at Marshals....MARSHALS! Maybe the investors weren't aware of this but taking the brand mass market wouldn't be anything new.

I am all for keeping the BJ runway brand exclusive because as we've seen with many clothing lines, as soon as it gets mainstream the exclusivity and quality goes down. If everyone is walking down the street with BJ, how is it unique and special anymore? Though I agree with keeping the line in the Contemporary to Better price market, I don't agree with letting the brand go all together. I'm pretty sure an agreement could have been made.

A great idea would have been creating a secondary line like Marc by Marc Jacobs or DKNY. She already had Betseyville selling bags and accessories, they could have easily explanded the line to clothing. Everyone loves Betsey and it would have been a hit. Another route that a lot of designers have been taking is joining forces with fast fashion retails like H&M and Top Shop to create exclusive lines that appeal to the public in look AND price. Now I will exclude the Versace for H&M line. I saw a studded jacket in there for $800, That price didn't appeal to me, it SCARED me. Lol

So in honor of the most abitious and fearless woman in fashion, here are my favorite current Betsey Johnson pieces. Also head on over to for the going out of business sale!

At my college graduation posing in my FAVORITE BJ newspaper dress with my mom!


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April Jay