Over the course of her career, Vera Wang has grown a single bridal boutique into a fashion and lifestyle empire that spans a wide range of countries and product categories — from engagement rings and ready-to-wear to dinner plates and cosmetics — at a variety of price points from luxury to mass market.
Wang cites her mother as her earliest fashion inspiration and later spending her college summers working at the Yves Saint Laurent store in her home city. After graduating college Wang was hired at Vogue as a rover but quickly worked her way up the ladder, becoming one of the magazine’s youngest ever fashion editors. Wang told BoF, “I got to work with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon — it is kind of insane really when I think back on it. It gives you an education that is parallel to none. There is nothing that isn’t available to you if you believe in it and want it and defend it to your boss. You had the best hairstylists, the best makeup artists, the best new photographers, the best established photographers.”
After being turned down for the editor-in-chief position, Wang left Vogue and, in 1987, joined Ralph Lauren . Two years and 18 accessory lines later, while planning her wedding, Wang decided to embark on dress design with her image of a modern woman in mind. In 1990, Wang opened her own boutique on Madison Avenue, carrying both eveningwear and bridal gowns, which would then expand to include jewellery, eyewear, shows and homeware in the years to come. In 2012, Wang collaborated with the Men's Wearhouse brand to release a line of tuxedos.
In 2005, Wang was awarded the Council of Fashion Designer of America Womenswear designer of the year award. A year later, she received the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Savannah College of Art and Design . Wang's wedding gowns have also been widely reference in popular culture, including the "Sex and the City" series and movie, "Gossip Girl", NBC's "The West Wing", "How to Get Away with Murder" and many more, alongside cameos.
“People have done far better than me in far shorter periods of time, but that wasn’t my story,” Wang told BoF. “It was brick by brick, client by client, store by store. It’s been a trip of passion, but it has not been a quick trip. Nor has it been easy. And that is the truth.” Regardless of her modesty, the results of Wang’s personal story speak for themselves; according to market sources, the retail value of goods bearing Vera Wang’s name is estimated to be upwards of $1 billion per year. Wang also ranked 34th in Forbes' list of America's Richest Self-Made Women in 2018, as her revenues reached $630 million that year.
In 2018, Wang made her instagram debut. Alongside bridal gowns, Wang has also designed for figure skaters, most recently for two-time world champion Nathan Chen for the 2018 Winter Olympics.