Cynthia Rowley: Daredevil Designer Launches CYNTHIA By Cynthia Rowley


Like many mothers, she took her daughters to a 'magic kingdom' over spring break.

Like many employers, she planned an exciting event for her company's last holiday party.

And, like many people, she is working her way down her 'Bucket List.'

But, here's the twist.

The' kingdom' she and her family visited may very well be magical, but you won't find Mickey or Minnie there because it's an island off the southwest peninsula of Sulawesi, called Buton.

The company event she planned certainly was exciting - especially if your interests lie in the movie industry rather than in the fashion industry - because it involved Hollywood stunt man training.

And, her bucket list is full of death-defying, far-flung adventures, but it's hard to imagine since she's no bigger than a minute.

Meet Fashion Designer Cynthia Rowley. Surprised? Me, too.

Who would have guessed the Chicago-area native who designs flirty, colorful women's clothing for a living would turn out to be such a Daredevil? It's one of the many things I learned about her during our recent interview, which began when we bonded over two important facts: We both grew up in a suburb of the Windy City, and we both agree that women's slacks don't need front pockets.

While I would have enjoyed spending all of our time together talking about Buton and bucket lists, the reason for our interview was to discuss her newest endeavor: CYNTHIA by Cynthia Rowley.

Rowley's first apparel collection, simply called the Cynthia Rowley Collection, was introduced in the early 1980s. She incorporated her company in 1988, and it is still privately owned. Over the years, her product line has expanded from women's wear to shoes, handbags, eyewear, belts, dishes, leg wear, hats, color cosmetics and fragrances, which can be found in the company's signature stores throughout United States, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as upscale department and specialty stores.

So, what does someone who has already enjoyed so much success do next? She makes her pieces available to a larger customer base by launching a 'diffusion line' - defined as a secondary line created by a highd-end designer and sold at a lower price point. In this case, CYNTHIA by Cynthia Rowley, which can be found at Belk department stores and online at belk.com.

Her diffusion line includes an array of ready-to-wear separates, which clearly portray Rowley's signature style - a mixture of practicality and whimsicality with a good measure of vibrant colors. Add her accessories, a pair of shoes, and a handbag, and you have a complete look - all at prices lower than her primary collection.

Rowley believes the 'modern way to shop' includes mixing staples, or classic pieces, with affordable items that are on trend for the season. CYNTHIA by Cynthia Rowley gives more women access to her designs than ever before - something about which she is very excited.

Rowley also is a huge fan of Belk. She admires the store's rich family history - founded by William Henry Belk in 1888, many of the store's top brass still carry the family name - and is delighted she's gained a new following as a result of her relationship with the department store.

While I can't tell you where Rowley's next far-flung adventure will take her, I can tell you where my next no-so-far-flung shopping adventure will take me: The CYNTHIA by Cynthia Rowley section at Belk.

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Dallas, Texas

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