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Betsey Johnson Essay

3065 words - 12 pages

Betsey Johnson has been worshipped as one of the queens of the American fashion world since the mid 1960s. She has excelled as both a businesswoman and designer due to her free spirit, independent thinking, and rock ‘n’ roll attitude, as well as a great deal of hard work and perseverance. At 5’4’’, Johnson is known for her wild hair (she spends 20,000 a year on extensions and wigs!), and ear-to-ear smile, matching her equally vibrant personality. One of the best words to describe Betsey Johnson would be nonconformist. Her Betsey Johnson stores are covered with vibrant colors and whimsical artwork, mirroring that of a young girl’s dress-up wonderland, emphasizing the importance of imagination when it comes to a woman’s wardrobe. At the age of 71, Betsey Johnson is still incredibly in touch with her youth, and with the youth of today, and persistently maintains an intoxicating energy straight out of the 1960s. Johnson has also been rocking the same cartwheel at the end of her fashion shows for decades. She jokes, “I’ll be so depressed when I can’t do cartwheels anymore. At that point, you may as well just me in a wheelchair.”

From a young age, Betsey Johnson was heavily influenced by British rock, and street-chic clothing, which gave her a direction for her own line. She designed clothing in order to combat the otherwise bland and pretentious options of the 1960s. Her clothing was revolutionary and a great source of artistic expression for the time. She surrounded herself with a colorful wardrobe and even more colorful people, such as Andy Warhol and his social group. Johnson once said, "I've never had a new or brilliant idea. I just like to make things. The truth is, fashion doesn't really change all that much. I'm still doing the same things now that I was back then." Despite her self-criticisms, Betsey Johnson has proved to be a timeless fashion icon, and has maintained a rebellious and exciting spirit for well over fifty years.
Betsey Lee Johnson was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut on August 10th 1942. Her mother’s name is Lena Virginia Johnson, and her father, John Herman Johnson, worked as a mechanical engineer. She has an older sister named Sally, and a younger brother named Robert. Johnson has remarked that her childhood was happy and simple. As a young girl, she aspired to be a Broadway dancer and took dance lessons for much of her youth. However, it was Johnson’s love for the costumes that led her on the path to becoming a designer. She made her first garment at the age of four: an apron with Scottie’s on it. In order to pursue her dreams of becoming a designer, Betsey Johnson attended the Pratt Institute for only a year before moving onto Syracuse University, in order to cheerlead, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A in art in 1964. She worked as an editor at the Pratt Institute in Syracuse, New York, as well as at Syracuse University. Johnson was not only noticed for her hard work ethic, but also for...

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