Betsey Johnson is the primary style leader, which has worked for her brand because the inspiration comes from herself and her past experiences. In 1965, Johnson got a job as a designer at Paraphernalia where she developed her “out there” hippie style and used unique fabrics such as shower curtains, wool from old NY Yankee uniforms, and interior lining of cars.
She also became known for her bright and neon color choices with puffy sleeves and deep necklines. Andy Warhol was a huge inspiration to her and her designs as well. Her designs became increasingly popular with the “youthquake” movement as teenagers dominated the fashion and music scene, which was complimentary to her brand.
In 1970, Johnson moved to design for Alley Cat, a youthful sportswear brand, where she continued her wild designs and colors and formed more of her rock n roll style. She brought those styles and experiences with her when starting her own label.
By the late 1970s, her success took a turn for the worst as her usual customers got older and they were looking for more work appropriate clothing. Johnson thought it was the end of her career until the Punk trend started in London and she got to go back to her roots.
The company has continued to grow with her distinctive style. There are now about 65 Betsey Johnson stores worldwide.
What’s to come:
Johnson has refused to alter her style and stays true to her brand no matter what the current trend is. This is positive in the sense that she has become well known for the rock n roll, trendy look, but over the past years, she has been the primary fashion leader herself.
There are celebrities such as, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez and many more who have been seen sporting her looks on red carpet, so it could potentially help the brand if she had those stars publicize her clothing by featuring them in future advertisements so that it could be geared towards a wider range of people. Particularly, musicians that are edgier and fit the “rock n roll” culture would be a good fit as style leaders for the brand.