After selling Juicy Couture for more than $50 million, longtime business partners and BFFs Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor weren't content to rest on their fashion laurels. They created an upscale collection called Skaist-Taylor and morphed it into a more accessible clothing line called Pam & Gela, along with a new book, The Glitter Plan, where they recount their Juicy experience and the secrets of their success.
During a Houston visit, the designing duo showcased their edgy new collection at Tootsies. It features velour tie-dye sweats, rabbit-lined hoodies, spiked leather jackets, and sleeveless T's with the words, "Wake Up, Kick Ass, Repeat."
"When you look at the collection, it's whimsical and it's fun. That's who we are," says Skaist-Levy. "We're not an uptight androgynous collection. We're Pam and Gela."
CultureMap: How would you describe Pam & Gela? Is the line the younger sibling of Skaist-Taylor?
Pamela Skaist-Levy: It's like Prada and Miu Miu. Skaist-Taylor was the more elevated, older sister. It was our love letter to fashion. We had so much fun doing it. But our sales representative said no one can say that name. You have to call it Pam and Gela.
Gela Nash-Taylor: It's also part of our journey and our path. We founded Juicy Couture and the modern day track (suit). This is what we want to wear today. It is the same philosophy. It's casual luxury. It's just dressing for everyday.
"When we did Juicy, everything was baby and shrunken and tight and low rise — as low as you can get. And now it's sort of oversized and baggy and slouchy."
CM: How has that changed from when you originally created Juicy?
GNT: I think the biggest change is the actual silhouette. Because when we did Juicy, everything was baby and shrunken and tight and low rise — as low as you can get. And now it's sort of oversized and baggy and slouchy.
PSL: Everything we do is really autobiographical. So of course Juicy was totally autobiographical. It was us then. Two best friends making clothes that we love to wear, that whole luxury casual Calif vibe. And I think it's missing in the marketplace so we were dying to do that again. I want to look chic and feel casual and wear great clothes from day to night.
CM: How does today's woman want to dress?
PSL: Super high low. They want to mix it up. It's really dated to wear just designer. It just doesn't look modern. You want a really eclectic great wardrobe. And that's a mix of high and low for sure.
CM: What's the secret of your friendship?
PSL: I think we're like minded.
GNT: It's like being in a relationship where two people make each other better. We laugh harder. We design better clothes.
PSL: We've been together half our lives. So we know each other by now.
CM: How do you divide the design work?
PSL: We really do everything together.
"That's the message: If we can do it anybody can do it. We want to inspire. It's not like we did anything other than persevere, have a passion, create great clothes and have fun."
GTN: I could tell you if something comes in front of us, I know exactly what her reaction would be. I don't even have to look at her. I know what the expression on her face is going to be. You just know it after all those years.
CM: Do you have any regrets about selling Juicy?
GNT: Listen, it's a wild ride. You have to Edith Piaf it because you can't have regrets. It's hard though. It's your baby. And when you see it going way down a path that's different from the one you were taking it down, it kind of hurts a little bit. But everything happens for a reason.
PSL: On the flip side, I have to say we're the luckiest girls in the world. We did really well. And we sold it at the right time . . . And what a ride. It was the most fun ride ever. It was crazy. And it still is. This is an amazing journey too.
CM: Why did you decide to write the book?
PSL: Today's world is so entrepreneurial. Every kid with a blog or a website or an app or anything is an entrepreneur. We wanted to tell our story in the hopes that we would sort of demystify the myth of how do you do it? Where do you start? It's a question we get asked every day. And you just do it. When you read our book you'll laugh and you'll realize if we could do it, you could do it.
GNT: That's the message: If we can do it anybody can do it. We want to inspire. It's not like we did anything other than persevere, have a passion, create great clothes and have fun.