Everybody likes pants; Barry Bricken loves them. Barry's trouser passion has not only spanned decades—it was also inherited. Since he was 10-years old Barry spent his days in his father's (Morris J. Bricken) trouser shop, learning the tricks of the trade. And might I say, those were years well-spent.
The prince of pants launched his career by creating Trousers by Barry, a luxury trouser label, then later a self-titled female line called Barry Bricken. When he sold the chain in 2006 his sales had exploded from $7 million to $20 million and included 12 retail stores all across the country.
Barry now successfully runs another label, B.B. Zipper, which he uses to features his high-quality, Hamptons-worthy slacks for women. His reputation in the britches industry has been carved out by the incredible fit of his garments, his consistency, his use of textures and unbridled passion for details.
In the 'off season' he and his wife (designer STEPHANIE SCHAICH) travel to fashion capitals of the world like New york, Paris and London, where they cultivate their creativity. Yes, he literally is living the fashion fairytale.
Barry took some time out from 'living the dream' to offer advice to Fashion-Schools.org's aspiring designer readers:
What inspired you to get into the fashion industry?
I grew up in the business. My father made men's trousers and I worked in the company since I was 10 years old. I loved the business right from the start.
What is your focus within the industry?
I have always loved trousers and I have done both men's and women's trousers.
What type of education did it take to get you where you are today?
I have a business degree from the University of Maryland majoring in accounting.
How has your career path progressed over the years?
The business grew to about 30 Million in the mid 90's. We sold the business in 2006 and the company that bought us put it out of business in 11 months. We went back in business in 2008.
What is your favorite part of working in the fashion/design business?
Fabrics and fit. I buy the best Italian fabrics and make all the product in Portugal.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashionistas?
Focus, know what you want to say and follow your vision.
What school(s) does your company generally recruit new hires from?
Do you think there is an overall increasing or decreasing need for people in the fashion industry?
Good people are always in demand.
Which roles in the fashion industry do you think will offer the best career opportunities moving forward? eg. designer, PR, entrepreneur, etc.?
I think design offers the best possibilities.
What designer(s) or brand(s) influenced you the most as a creative professional?
I entered the industry in the late 60's and there were not many designers at the time. I rode the wave with people like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, and Calvin Klein. We all started out about the same time.
Do you think today's jobs in the fashion industry require more of an artist's touch or business-like ruthlessness?
I think you need both so if you are not capable of being a good business person then get with one from the start.
Which skills do you consider to be most critical for a career in fashion?
Attitude, without the right attitude you have no chance in this industry.
What do you think the future of fashion and design holds?
I always look at the bright side and I think that there will always be a fashion business. People will always relate to beauty.
Check out more interviews at The Fashion-Schools.org Interview Series.