Nora Gardner: Designing for Powerful Women and Breaking into New York Fashion

Starting your own fashion brand might sound glamorous, but becoming a household name doesn’t just happen overnight. New designers looking to move to the big city need to know the ins and outs of the industry before even hoping to spot their looks coming down a New York Fashion Week runway.

Curious to learn more about what it takes to step into New York’s fashion scene, I had the pleasure of interviewing upcoming fashion designer, Nora Gardner. She is a women’s wear designer focusing on cooperate attire who just started about two years ago.

Photo: Courtesy of Nora Gardner / @noragardnernyc
Photo: Courtesy of Nora Gardner / @noragardnernyc

What inspired you to create your own fashion brand?

As a woman working in a professional environment, I felt there was a need for the clothes that I wanted to wear. I wanted to feel confident and comfortable in my clothes while remaining appropriate in a professional work place.

As a new designer, what are the challenges you face in this business?

While having a great product and knowing my market but not being from the fashion industry, it was hard to find proper distribution channels
and retail partners. Establishing brand identity and awareness is key and is one of the main challenges that a brand must overcome to be successful.

What makes you unique from other designers?

I have a background in finance and I’m inspired by the women I used to work with. I also do all the designs and run the whole business myself. I am equally passionate about both aspects of the business.

Why did you decide to start your fashion brand in New York City?

I lived and worked in NYC and am inspired by New York City executive women. I want to continue to build my business in New York which is, in my opinion, the capital of both finance and fashion.

How do you envision your line or brand in five years from now?

I would like to become the primary go-to resource for high quality women’s work wear. I would like to expand the line to include separates and accessories, partner with major retailers, and become an international brand.

Photo: Courtesy of Nora Gardner
Photo: Courtesy of Nora Gardner
Photo: Courtesy of Nora Gardner
Photo: Courtesy of Nora Gardner


Written by Ayesha Alim

Edited by Brianna Arrighi

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