In 1991 she sold the Regina Kravitz label to a small public company. It had grown into a $10,000,000 business — but don’t think getting there was easy! “Designing clothing is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard, frustrating, and takes a great deal of knowledge,” which she now tries to impart to her others as a mentor at the Brooklyn Fashion Incubator and Philadelphia Fashion Incubator.
Regina Kravitz today
Photo: Ernest Schmatolla
If you were the new ’80s working woman and shopped for trendy yet well-designed women’s clothing that brought you from day to dinner, chances are the Regina Kravitz label rings a bell. As one of Lookonline’s regular subscribers and a long-time member of the CFDA, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Regina at her home on the Upper East Side and got a chance to revisit some of her archival pieces. Since I am an ’80s freak and someone who fondly remembers a particular dress of hers that I lived in (more on that later), this was a special treat.
Regina is in a select group of female entrepreneurs who started their own labels (one of the only ones who succeeded without a financial partner or backer) and who I term a “fashion chameleon.” She is able to reinvent herself while adapting to changing times — predicting what the fashion customer wants before they even know it themselves.
You could say it’s in her blood – both her grandfathers were tailors, her father a manufacturer and retailer, her mother a fashion-savvy showroom model. “I grew up in Loehmann’s BackRoom,” she laughs. Both Regina and her stylish mother were fish out of water in Paterson, NJ, as “everyone else was very suburban in Bermuda shorts, we wore designer clothing, but never at full price.” Although the future designer trained as a classical ballet dancer and was an excellent student, “shantung, not soccer,” ruled the household.
Last December, she was honored at The BFI’s 5th Annual Fundraiser Gala as a fashion entrepreneur role model. BFI & PFI have dedicated nonprofits that help fashion entrepreneurs navigate the rough waters of the garment industry.
After selling her eponymous line, Regina designed and managed Danskin Sport, a line featuring knits and Lycra. She has also worked for other manufacturers in the industry. Although she tried to reinvent her previous labels (Regina and Reggie), she met with only moderate success.