40 over 40: Julie Hutton designs fashions that look ‘just fabulous’

Coming from a small town in South Dakota “where the only fashionable thing was overalls,” Julie Hutton’s big break in fashion came when she moved to New York and landed her first job as a graphic designer at Macy’s. She was fired the same day, but she didn’t give up. “A guy I knew said, ‘I’ve seen you around and like the way you dress. Do you think you can design a collection for me?’ I said yes, which was a total lie.” Hutton sketched out 12 pieces for his spring collection, and one of the dresses ended up on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily. “They made me the head designer,” the 62-year-old entrepreneur recalls, “and made the head designer my assistant.”

Julie Hutton in her studio

Don’t act out of fear. Don’t let it dictate the decisions that you make. Fear can work to your advantage. It can be a tremendous motivator.

Hutton went on to design private-label garments for major department stores and launched her own personal line, Julie Hutton, in 2008. Business boomed from the very beginning. “The door blew out,” says the WeWork 5th Ave member. “I was getting more emails and phone calls than I could imagine.” After some challenges working with overseas factories, she moved her production stateside. “We’re in the factories every day,” she says, “and we have the best people to run the best machinery.” And having more control over the finished product helps her reach her goal of “creating something that looks just fabulous.”

Photos: Mark Schafer

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