As the Chief Creative Officer for BCBGMax Azria, Lubov Azria has successfully maneuvered the fashion industry to become the leader of one of the biggest brands in the business. And just as her professional achievements evoke admiration, so does her dedication to supporting and encouraging women. Today, Azria spoke at the S.H.E. Summit in New York City, a conference dedicated to highlighting women role models and encouraging women to pursue their own definition of leadership. Before she took the stage, we caught up with the designer to talk about what success really means, how to achieve work-life balance, and breaking through those pesky glass ceilings. Scroll down read her exclusive Q&A with InStyle.com.
1. What made you interested in participating in the women's leadership S.H.E. Summit?
I’m attracted to and believe in the cause of the summit. I’ve always admired strong women who are confident and know what they want; women who aren’t afraid to speak their mind and stand up for themselves. I truly believe that women naturally posses leadership qualities and love the idea of sharing our stories with each other. Partnering with founder Claudia [Chan] on this incredible celebration of women was the perfect way to support BCBGMaxAzria Group's devotion to the same ideals. From meeting the women who will be attending to the inspirational women who will be speaking, I am very excited to soak it all in.
2. Why do you think events like this are so important?
It’s so important for women to support and empower each other. When I heard about this week-long summit that was designed to help women lead their most optimal personal and professional lives, I wasn’t going to miss it.
3. What do you think makes a successful leader? And in particular women leaders?
I think a successful leader has the ability to inspire others. They must motivate and challenge others in a way that inspires and promotes excellence. They must have the ability to communicate, make hard decisions, and is accountable for them even when the outcome is negative. They also must be able to deal with ambiguity and is exceptionally adaptable and flexible. Not afraid. Passionate, emotionally intelligent, and has enough experience (good and bad) and insight to have convictions for their vision.
4. How does it feel to be a role model in the fashion industry?
I feel grateful to have supportive customers and an incredible team of creative minds who make my role possible. It is the women who shop in our stores and truly believe in the brand that allow me to continue creating and I believe my purpose in life, is to make things better. I wake up each morning with only one thought, ‘how do I make it better?’ And that’s what drives me every single day.
5. If you tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?
When it comes to this industry and experience, I wouldn’t change anything. The journey that I have been blessed to experience cannot even begin to describe the full path that is yet to come. I have no regrets. And no matter the milestones I’ve experienced, I constantly embrace growth, learning, and creation every single day. I have learned over time that patience is vital. Now, I never rush the process. I take my time with each and every piece. I never put something out that hasn’t been finessed, fitted, and refined to the thread—until it has been perfected.
6. What's your own personal mantra?
How can I make it better?
7. What would be your advice for women who are building careers?
Follow your dreams and never give up, no matter what. Stay true, learn, be open-minded, and have a great follow-through.
8. What do you think is key for finding a successful work-life balance?
Balance is key to a career woman and mother like myself. I’m constantly working and on the go, so every chance I get, I want to spend time with my family. Also, I understand how precious time is, so each moment that I’m with my family, I want it be meaningful. We can’t be defined as one role. We all wear so many hats in a given moment. It’s about understanding and where your time is best spent. For me, I need time for my family, my work, myself. I want to constantly be better in all those areas. Most importantly, I know that they all affect each other, so sustaining a balance between all is key. I also think it’s very important to adopt a routine that keeps your body healthy and happy. For me, that’s vegan food, a good nutritionist, Fiji water, workout, repeat.
9. What do you think is holding women back?
Fear—it is the one thing that has complete control over hindering action and causing self-doubt. Women struggle with self-doubt in their ability to do it all as opposed to men, but if you are passionate enough, you will find a way to overcome.
10. Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?
No—If you are passionate enough and have a strong support system, the sky is the limit.
Plus, see Lubov's latest collection for Herve Leger by Max Azria.