6 international designers who stepped down from the fashion labels they founded Advertisement

6 international designers who stepped down from the fashion labels they founded

Carolina Herrera bids farewell

By Shweta Gandhi  February 14th, 2018

Once a fashion designer, always a fashion designer — even if you decide to step down as the chief creative officer from the very company you so painstakingly birthed. Or at least that’s what leading names like Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade and Donna Karan have in common, who are part of the legion of international designers who stepped down from their namesake labels but haven’t quit designing. 

Carolina Herrera is the latest name to be added to the list — the 79-year-old designer showcased her final Fall 2018 collection on Monday at New York Fashion Week — and while the designer will continue her legacy as the global brand ambassador, Wes Gordon, who worked with Carolina as the creative consultant, will be taking over the reins.

Closer to home, Wendell Rodricks announced that he was moving on from his eponymous fashion brand in 2016, leaving Schulen Fernandes, his protégé, now at the helm.

6 international designers who stepped down from the fashion houses they created:

Carolina Herrera

After having served at the helm of her eponymous fashion label for 37 years, Carolina Herrera has stepped down as the creative director with Fall 2018 being her final showcase at New York Fashion Week. Wes Gordon, who worked as the creative consultant to Carolina, has taken over the reins. The designer is now the global brand ambassador of her namesake label and will continue to work closely with the house.

Picture courtesy: @carolinaherrera/Instagram


Carolina became known for her sophisticated and ladylike designs which have been seen on influential women like Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama. "My style icon is a type of woman — it’s a woman who really knows her own style, is confident and leaves a lasting impression," Carolina has been quoted as saying. Her signature look, however, has to be a crisp white shirt paired with a taffeta skirt and a wide belt.

Picture courtesy: @carolinaherrera/Instagram

Donna Karan

Donna Karan, the founder and chief designer of Donna Karan International, announced in 2015 that she was stepping down from her company that she co-founded with her late husband Stephan Weiss and Takiyho Inc. in 1984. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, who had bought Donna Karan International in 2001, sold the company to New York-based apparel group G-III in 2016. She still works in an advisory role with the company, but focusses her energies on her Urban Zen Company and foundation, which she founded in 2007.

Picture courtesy: @donnakaran/Instagram

The designer's signature ensembles have always been black cashmere, leather, stretchable fabrics and silhouettes that wrap and sculpt the body. “For me, the body was very important — and clothing with comfort and fit. I was the first person to put stretch into fabric,” she once said

Picture courtesy: @donnakaran/Instagram

Kate Spade

Kate Brosnahan Spade, who started her namesake label Kate Spade New York in 1993, stepped down in 2006 when Liz Claiborne acquired the entire company and Deborah Lloyd became the president and chief creative officer. In 2016, Kate along with her husband Andy and other partners started a new brand called Frances Valentine, while in 2017, Tapestry Inc. (formerly Coach Inc.) acquired Kate Spade and Nicola Glass replaced Deborah as the chief creative officer.

Picture courtesy: Kate Spade


Kate left her job as an accessories editor in 1993 to design a stylish, practical handbag. Her first collection featured her signature nylon Kate Spade NY bag in six silhouettes. Today, the fashion house has expanded into clothing, jewellery, shoes, stationery, eyewear, fragrance, home decor and more.

Picture courtesy: @katespadeny/Instagram

Ralph Lauren is one of America's greatest self-made entrepreneurs, who started his business by making ties. But it was his polo shirt that proved to be a game-changer for his company.

Picture courtesy: @ralphlauren/Instagram

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren, who launched Ralph Lauren Corporation in 1968, stepped down as CEO in 2015. Stefan Larsson, the former global president of Old Navy, replaced him, while Ralph took the position of the executive chairman and chief creative officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation.

Picture courtesy: @ralphlauren/Instagram


Wendell Rodricks

Wendell Rodricks, who started his namesake label in the late 1980s, decided it was time to move on in 2016. Schulen Fernandes, his protégé, took over his brand. "I'm just phasing out. I've not abandoned the studio and I'm not moving away from fashion. I will design on my own," he said about his departure.

Picture courtesy: @wendellrodricks/Instagram

Wendell Rodricks is most known for his eco-friendly fabrics and for reviving the traditional Goan Kunbi weave saree, which has been worn by the likes of Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Jayalalitha and Pratibha Patil.

Picture courtesy: @wendellrodricks/Instagram