Four years ago, Joyce Azria might have insisted that she wouldn’t follow in the footsteps of her father, L.A. fashion mogul Max Azria.
But that was before he tricked her into taking on a leadership role with BCBG Generation, one of more than 20 brands in his portfolio at BCBG Max Azria Group Inc.
Now, she’s gaining her footing in the L.A. fashion industry working as creative director for a second BCBG brand, the French-bred Manoukian.
BCBG launched the European brand in the United States earlier this month in 22 Lord & Taylor department stores, after having moved the brand’s creative direction and design departments to Los Angeles from France last year.
As creative director for the brand, the 31-year-old Azria said she oversees clothing design, ad campaigns and visual merchandising, among other duties.
“I look at everything down to the color of a trim; I take care of photo shoots and marketing and licensing,” she said. “I don’t know what I don’t do.”
BCBG, which 63-year-old Max Azria founded in 1989, wasn’t always a family affair. In fact, his brother Serge Azria also works in the L.A. fashion industry but separately, owning women’s fashion brands Joie, Equipment and Current/Elliot.
But that go-it-alone approach changed when Max Azria married a design associate at BCBG in 1992. Now his wife, Lubov Azria, is chief creative officer for the company.
Ilse Metchek, executive director of the California Fashion Association in downtown Los Angeles, said that although many fashion companies don’t involve family members, those that do tend to do well.
“It’s not a business where succession is the norm; for the most part people in the business want their kids to be doctors or lawyers or whatever else,” she said. “But those that do (keep it in the family) are very successful. There’s an institutional knowledge about how the business works that seems to make for success. It kind of gets in their blood.”
From an outsider’s perspective, it might seem obvious why Joyce Azria is working in fashion: she was born into it. But it hasn’t always been at the top of her to-do list.
When she graduated high school, she considered going to USC to get a degree in business. But her father intervened. He told her that she shouldn’t waste her time in school when she could learn all about business working for him.
“My first year was a rounding of every aspect of the business, an understanding of the minutia of the business,” she said.
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