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Elie Tahari: Make critics your best friend

Elie Tahari: Make critics your best friend

Designer Elie Tahari now "embraces" his critics, because they push him to do better.

The fashion star opened his first boutique in the '70s and has since become one of the biggest names in the industry.

During a recent talk at the Fashion Institute of Technology on Monday afternoon as part of the school’s Faces & Places in Fashion lectures, he encouraged students to welcome criticism as part of the creative process.

"The reason we don’t like some people in life is because they bring out something that we don’t like (about ourselves)," he explained to the audience. "But the truth is that those people are helping you more than your friends who agree with everything you say. It’s the same thing in business. I used to get upset when somebody used to tell me that something didn’t fit, instead of embracing the person and appreciating that they cared enough to bring it to my attention. Bad news is really a blessing... it’s actually good news that you can do better. When somebody is truthful to you and tells you something doesn’t fit, that’s the most important person in your company. To be truthful is the most important thing in business."

Elie is in a good place to teach others about fashion after building up his brand from nothing. Although he admits he didn't have the "luxury" to learn about design as a youngster, he was always inspired by clothes and as a 12-year-old spent all his money on getting a pair of bellbottom trousers made at the tailors.

During his time in the industry, he's observed how things have developed.

"Fashion has changed drastically and dramatically, but fashion is about change," he explained.

"It used to be that there would be a new trend, like a miniskirt, and everyone wanted a miniskirt. And so that’s what you’d sell - a miniskirt. Those trends still exist, but they don’t exist in such big waves anymore. They exist in smaller waves."

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