Known for her celebration of the exuberant, the embellished and the over the top, Betsey has been rocking the fashion industry with her unique and original designs since the 1960’s. Her commitment to remain true to her one-of-a-kind vision has afforded Betsey continued success in an industry known for its fickleness. Her ability to change with the times while keeping her designs pure has not gone unnoticed.
Betsey was born in Connecticut and spent her childhood in dance classes. Her aspirations to be a dancer and her love for costumes laid the foundation for Betsey’s creativity and inspiration, which is still evident in her designs today. In 1964, Betsey entered the New York fashion scene by winning Mademoiselle magazine’s “Guest Editor Contest.” One year later, she landed the top designer position for Paraphernalia, a clothing boutique that at the time housed the hottest young London designers. What would soon become known as Betsey’s trademark look began its formulations here: sexy silhouettes, hippie inspired flowing fabrics, whimsical detailing and most importantly, a fabulous fit.
Betsey Johnson, both the woman and the label, is constantly moving forward and continues to keep a strong foothold in the fashion industry with no signs of letting up anytime soon. Her love of detail and design is evident in everything she does in life and in business. Her enthusiasm, creativity and boundless talent that have kept her at the forefront of fashion for the past 45 years will keep Betsey going for years to come.
As one journalist recently quoted, “If Betsey Johnson didn’t exist, we would have to invent her, simply to remind ourselves that fashion can be fun. She’s the original wild child and set to paint the town pink!”
Radley Cramer, Fashion Program Director joined Marist as Fashion Program Director in 2006. His career has included advertising positions at Abraham & Strauss and creative concept development at Revlon. While serving as a creative marketing consultant for many years, his client list included top luxury fashion labels as well as leaders in cosmetics, fragrance, home furnishings and entertainment in both the US and Europe. Additionally Radley was the co-founder of a fiber arts retail and e-commerce business. He delights in working with Fashion Program faculty and students, and considers this his “dream job.”
Marist College alumna and trustee Laurie DeJong is CEO of LDJ Productions, a NYC based event management company. LDJ’s portfolio of clients include L’Oreal, Yahoo, Live Person, Victoria’s Secret, Nickelodeon and IMG where LDJ provides full production management services for all of IMG’s North American Fashion Weeks.
Under Laurie’s leadership, LDJ has grown to a multi-million dollar operation. LDJ’s culture is built on a strong sense of community, dedication to professional growth, and social responsibility. LDJ was recently appointed as founding members of Great Lakes Arts Association, a collaborative of 5 countries in East Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Congo and Burundi working together to develop their arts programs. LDJ will produce the first East Africa Fashion Collaborative in May 2014.
After graduating from the Fashion Program at Marist College in 1988, immediately set out to launch his own brand, Morrissey. Morrissey demonstrates the designer’s affinity for superior construction, attention to detail, quality fabric, and great fit. Building on the serge in domestic production, JR has created “Factory,” a network of boutique manufacturing within the five boroughs of NYC. Dedicated to providing brands with resources and skills necessary to streamline their sample to production process, as well as the intimacy and convenience that come hand in hand with local manufacturing.
JR presides over the Fashion Advisory Board for his alma mater, Marist College.
Melissa Halvorson, a Professional Lecturer in the Marist Fashion Program teaches Textiles, Handknitting, Sustainability & Fashion, Writing for Fashion and the course that has become, “the FOLD.” Though devoted to the practice of teaching, Halvorson also pursues her own work and is currently exploring data-embedded knitwear inspired by Edward Tufte’s theories of Information Design.