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Fast Company's yearly "100 Most Creative People in Business" list is out, and fashion folk fared well in the rankings. Here's who made the cut—from JCPenney's CEO to Madewell's Creative Director—and why:
No. 4: Ron Johnson, CEO JCPenney. Because he's mixing up one of the oldest formulas in the retail game.
"For decades, department stores were organized o have a center store of cosmetics, jewelry, and women's handbags. We're going to have something new called Town Square. It's a series of 80 to 100 shops. Department stores have been limited intellectually by their traditional categories of home and apparel. We can put in whatever shops we want. It liberates you to do what's relevant to people in their lives."
No. 6: Leslie Berland, SVP Digital Partnerships and Development, American Express. Because she sold a bunch of executives who didn't know what Twitter was on social media.
"Facebook was going to be a side part [of Amex's Small Business Saturday promotion]. That was the first time we put a stake in the ground and said, 'No, the whole program is going to run through Facebook.'"
No, 17: Jessica Alba, Cofounder, The Honest Company. Because she made it chic to go green.
The design of Alba's eco-friendly line of baby products is influenced by French soap makers and designers like Alexander McQueen. In her words: "You spend more time changing you kid's bum than anything else, so why not have it be more pleasant?"
No. 31: Kin Yin Lee, Creative Director, Madewell. Because she's figured out how to keep things cool and affordable.
"If we were to make this [vintage lace bib], it would be a $1000 item... That's not an option for the Madewell shopper?" Lee had the pattern printed on a knit instead. "I want to make sure we're giving her something beautiful, something with integrity, but I don't want her to take out a loan to get it."
No. 50: Bradford Shellhammer, Cofounder and CEO, Fab. Because he's killing it in online retail.
Fab pairs each item with the story behind it, making shoppers feel supportive of the seller. 'People invest more in things they form emotional attachments to,' he says."
No. 54: Flavio Pripas and Renato Steinberg, Cofounders Fashion.me. For tapping the Brazilian fashion market.
Fashion.me lets shoppers mix and match designer pieces, dress virtual models, tag photos, and let others weigh in or suggest combinations. Everything links back to a site where the goods are for sale, and the site has more than a million customers. "Fashion is a social phenomenon," Renato Steinberg says, "and no one had captured that experience and put it online."
No. 78: Aslaug Magnusdottir, Cofounder and CEO Moda Operandi. Because she guessed that shoppers would order straight off the runway. And she was right.
"Designers always complain that though they build beautiful collections, their best pieces never see production because retail buyers font see a market for them. No one thought anyone would purchase luxury items online, but we help our customers feel comfortable by offering style advice through editorial content and personal stylists."
No. 80: Rachel Shechtman, Founder, Story. Because she made brick-and-mortar shopping exciting again.
Story is a Manhattan boutique that updates its theme and products every four to eight weeks. "So many e-commerce brands have just been nailing it, and a lot of brick and mortar retailers just got lazy. Now the older sibling is looking up to the younger sibling," she says.
No. 92: Neil Blumenthal, Co-founder Warby Parker. Because he figured out how to make an old product cool again.
"[The site] is easy to browse. It's not overwhelming. And it forces us to really hone our designs and produce only the ones we're most proud of."
No. 93: Pamela Love, Founder, Pamela Love N.Y.C. Because she doesn't take the easy path.
"I create things that are a pain in the ass to make. I sketch endlessly, but almost nothing becomes an actual product because I either change my mind or it's impossible to make. It's hard and it's expensive, but it's something our customers respond to."
Nos. 96, 97, 98: Tal Dehtiar, Founder, Oliberte Footwear; Carla Schmitzberger, President, Havanians; Edwin Neo, Founding Partner, Ed Et Al Shoemakers. Because they managed to build a global fashion business in footwear.
Dehtiar: "I was working in nonprofits when I heard about Toms Shoes. I'm not a fan of giving things away. If we want to help Africa, we have to create manufacturing jobs."
Schmitzberger: "The Brazilian spirit is joyful, vibrant, free. It's easy for Brazilians to feel this way because it's basically summer all the time. We want those emotions to be communicated everywhere, even where it's snowing."
Neo: "We've relied on word of mouth and social media to reach the customers who really care about our work."
· The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012 [Fast Company]
· Does The Randomness of People's Most Beautiful List Make It Any Less Entertaining? Hm, Nope! [Racked]
· So, Opening Ceremony is Apparently on Fast Company's Radar [Racked]