At the second annual FN/Two Ten WIFI Women Who Rock event in New York tonight, designers and friends Tory Burch and Tabitha Simmons weighed in on everything from the power of fashion to the challenges of entrepreneurship.
Burch, who stars this week on the cover of FN’s special Women in Power issue, talked about the realities of being an executive and a mother. “People ask, ‘How do you do it all.’ And I don’t think it’s possible,” she said. “When I got the call from Loewe [to become president], I had three boys under the age of 4. It was a tough decision [to turn it down] but you have to be realistic.”
Simmons lauded Burch for her approach to juggling multiple responsibilities. “Tory, you are such an inspiration because you always put your family first,” she said, adding that every time Burch’s kids call, the fashion icon picks up the phone. “Every single time!”
As for her own business, Simmons said she has learned to be resilient. “It’s really tough being an entrepreneur, but [my mantra is]: If you fall of the horse, you have to keep getting back on every day,” said the designer.
On the subject of design, the tastemakers revealed a shared affection for sneakers.
Burch noted that when was creating her casual Tory Sport collection, she took inspiration from “The Royal Tenenbaums.” “We wanted to find our own feminine take on sport,” she said.
And Simmons hinted that she is in the process of creating her first sneaker style. She explained that comfortable, sporty looks have broad appeal. “Women have such busy lives, and they want to be comfortable. We’re all trying to run around and do everything, and sneakers just make it easier,” said Simmons.
Outside of work, philanthropy is a priority for both Burch and Simmons. “When I think about business and purpose, there are so many things that we can do to support each other and to create change,” said Burch, who founded her Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to support other female-owned small businesses.
Simmons recalled a collaboration she created with Toms Shoes for fall ’13 that led her to attend one of the Toms giving trips. “It was an incredible experience,” she said.
More recently, her label partnered with a New York City animal shelter to feature some of the pets in her marketing, along with a call for customers to adopt the dogs. “It’s actually worked pretty well — I think about three of the dogs have been adopted!” she said.
Exclusive: Tory Burch on Embracing Ambition & Leading a Powerhouse Brand in Disruptive Times
Anna Wintour Reveals the Surprising Shoes Tabitha Simmons Used to Wear to Go Clubbing
10 Times the Platform Shoe Changed the World for Women