Joe Vecchiarelli, the founder and president of Fashion Supplies Inc., has worked in the fashion industry for over 40 years.
He remembers going into design rooms with his dad as a child and being enamored as they took garments from nothing and magically created something great. “I always knew,” Mr. Vecchiarelli said, when asked at what exact point he realized the world of fashion was calling his name. “I was diapered in this industry.”
During his college years, Mr. Vecchiarelli worked in the family business, sharpening scissors for the industry’s top designers. He later graduated from USC’s Business program and began to realize that opportunities in the apparel business were unlimited.
To begin transforming the family business into a successful international company, he started building design rooms and getting involved with various college fashion departments throughout the country. He acquired Global Dress Forms, a company that manufactures dress forms in New York. He worked with Dolly Parton and created all her mannequins throughout the country. “We still work together!” he says, laughing. Mr. Vecchiarelli’s career took another fascinating turn when he made a foray into the entertainment business, working in production with showslike Dancing with the Stars and Th e X Factor. Two years ago, he wasapproached by NBC to help produce the competitive design talent show, Fashion Star. He accepted, with the challenge to create a successful show more professional than even Project Runway.
Presently, Mr. Vecchiarelli is ever busy maintaining his business and helping college fashion students grasp their dreams. Th e biggest perk to the multi-talented industry alum’s job? Watching driven students become successful designers in the industry. Along with this joy, though, he also carries the responsibility. “There is only one of me and millions of people out there that I need to help,” he says. “It’s really hard to recreate what I do.” What is the secret to success in this fast-paced, heel bites heel industry? According to Mr. Vecchiarelli, it’s “taking care of the customers, and taking them to different levels that they thought they could not achieve.”
A word to the students, waiting for the show (and their careers) to finally start—“You can achieve anything you want to, you just need to reach for it. No matter how hard it is, (and it will be difficult!) keep at it, and you will get to where you want to be.”
~Interview and Biography by Sara Nimori