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Diane von Furstenberg
Co-Chairman and Founder, DVF
New York, NY
Even if I had failed, I would have no regrets. I now realize that you only regret the things you don’t do.
In the 1980s, after a roller-coaster ride of great success followed by a series of business challenges, I decided to sell my company and take a hiatus from fashion. On the one hand, I was free personally and I enjoyed my time traveling and thinking about the future. But on the other, I felt very unsettled by this inability to express myself and very unhappy with what the brand that bore my name had become.
I knew that the wrap dress had tremendous staying power, and in the mid-nineties, all of the young hip models had begun to buy them in the vintage shops. I saw an opportunity, but there were risks to doing it all over again. There were times I doubted myself, but I also I knew the only thing that stood between me and rebuilding my brand, and reclaiming my future, was a fear of failure. A fear that maybe the fashion world would not take me seriously, or that a second attempt would fall flat, and make my early success seem like a happy coincidence.
Considering all of this, I remembered something my mother always told me: “Fear is not an option.” So I leaned in.
It was difficult to face the fact that the brand that I had built, the third child I had worked so hard to create, was no longer a reflection of me or my taste. But it was crucial to regain control of it, to restore its spirit and integrity, and I did. The wrap dress was a huge success, and has become a signature element of my collection.
Now, as we continue to expand DVF globally, I am as enthusiastic about the future as I have ever been. I am excited to continue the dialogue I have established with women all over the world. It is a dialogue informed by my own history, and I am excited to dedicate myself, and my company, to inspiring women to be the woman they want to be.
And even if I had failed, I would have no regrets. I now realize that you only regret the things you don’t do. And I think of all that would have been lost had I given in to moments of insecurity.
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