Celebrated US-based designer, Cynthia Rowley knows a thing or two about succeeding in business. Since beginning her line in 1988, she now rules over an empire spanning clothing, swimwear, accessories, beauty and more, so it’s fitting that she’s in town for VAMFF’s Business Breakfast to share her wisdom. In addition to this, she will be opening a store-in-store experience at the newly refurbished Harrolds. During the whirlwind trip, she takes time to speak to us about her inspirations, the drive behind her business, and how her aesthetic suits the Australian lifestyle so well.


Since beginning your line, you have been the go-to for chic, effortless style – where do you get your inspiration for your collections?

I find inspiration in all of life’s adventures and I like to push the boundaries of what’s possible. To have an idea and see it come to life is an amazing reward.


Your designs cover many facets of fashion; from clothing, to swim, to accessories, to fitness and home; was it always the goal to have a true lifestyle brand?

I don’t know if it was always the goal, but I’ve always designed for my own life, so it was probably inevitable that I would expand into multiple categories and become a lifestyle brand. My M.O. is to always try to do things that haven’t been done before.


You are appearing on the panel for VAMFF’s Business Breakfast; after starting and successfully running your own business, what is the best advice you can give to upcoming entrepreneurs?

Make sure you’re building something that’s going to make you happy. Running your own business takes a lot of effort and time, and if you’re not enjoying the work, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be successful.


While you’re in town, you’ve created a shop-in-shop experience at the newly refurbished Harrolds; how did this partnership come about?

I’ve always seen Harrolds as the pinnacle luxury shopping experience in Australia, so when they asked me to be involved my answer was immediately yes! I’m so excited to be a part of the launch of their new womenswear department in Melbourne.


While you’re a US-based designer, your pieces resonate with the Australian market incredibly well. Was this a deciding factor in partnering with Harrolds?

Wow, thank you! After showing at Sydney Fashion Week last May, I felt so at home in Australia. It’s a beautiful country with all the best things in life! Now I’m so lucky to be invited back by Harrolds and VAMFF and have the opportunity to head to Melbourne… I’m so excited!


Finally, what pieces should every woman have in their wardrobe?

Our Flask Bangle? (wink, wink). A cute wetsuit and a pretty, sexy dress.


Tickets for VAMFF’s Business Breakfast are available here. Harolds’ Womens Melbourne store will host the Cynthia Rowley store-in-store. For more information, head to harrolds.com.au.

About The Author

Paige Richards

Paige's nitpicking of misspelt menu items led her to find her love of editing. Living in her adopted city of Melbourne, she is ever in pursuit of the perfect coffee, and the perfect little black everything. And like the wise Carrie Bradshaw once said, she keeps her money where she can see it - hanging in her closet.

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