At the Met, Tory Burch talks candidly about her brand’s survival with Alina Cho

It’s been almost two years since the Met hosted a series or panel of in-person speakers, and last night Tory Burch took the stage with Alina Cho to recount everything that has happened since – in her own life, her business and in fashion in general. . As one of America’s foremost designers, Burch took a leadership role during the pandemic, calling on Congress and the U.S. Treasury to push for help in the fashion industry as women stores closed, employees were put on leave, and cash flow stopped. “Nobody was talking about fashion,” says Burch. “There was the food industry, the airline industry… [who work in the fashion industry]. “(Hmm, do you guess why our male-dominated government might ignore an industry largely associated with women?)

For many onlookers, and those who log on virtually, last night’s conversation with Cho provided a glimpse of how Burch weathered the first months of foreclosure, as well as the tough business decisions she and her husband- slash-CEO, Pierre-Yves Roussel, made to save their business. “I was thinking how long can a business last [while still] pay people and make sure they get health benefits during a pandemic? Burch said. “I was watching something that I spent 16 years building falling apart. And there was nothing [we] could do.”

For months it was impossible to see a light at the end of the tunnel, but by January 2021, Burch’s business was seeing record sales. Fashion has recovered faster than expected (at least so far), as people let go of their sweats and gear up for the new world. “People want to dream,” says Burch. “I have always been intrigued by the way we [can] making women more confident – how do we really stand up for something that is not about price or luxury, but quality and beauty. I think people are tired of staying at home, they want to go out and celebrate and live life.

Below are more takeaways from her revealing conversation with Cho.

In the early days of the pandemic:

“I don’t think we left a room for six weeks. It was so scary… And it was literally 18 hour days. That was all from, let’s see how we maintain payroll because you can’t keep paying people indefinitely. This is not how the company is constituted. We were really trying to understand [and] figuring out how to get help, how to make sure people are still able to do their jobs. One thing that was amazing, other than my amazing team, was that we all focused on the concept of innovation: how do you dream and try to keep the business interesting and design products when we are not. not together? “

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