What This Fashion Designer Owes Her Huge Success To

Cynthia Rowley needs no introduction. The iconic New York fashion designer is known for her sporty shapes and pop colours, and unsurprisingly, has a strong fan base in Australia. Our climate and coastal lifestyle perfectly suit her lifestyle brand. 

After presenting at Fashion Week Australia last year to huge success, Rowley is back on our shores again this week, but this time, on a whole other level. Rowley has partnered with luxury Australian department store Harrolds to present a retail experience in its newly refurbished Melbourne store, with an exclusive shop-in-shop concept.

Ahead of her visit we stole five minutes with the designer to chat about her success so far, who she loves to follow on Instagram and what you should buy from the collection. Keep scrolling!


Nigel Barker

Pictured: Cynthia Rowley



WWW: Where do you get your style inspiration from? Are there specific Instagram, Tumblr or blogs that you follow? Street style? Runway? Celebrity?

CR:  A lot of it also comes from the art world. I tease my hubby that he posts too much, but it keeps me constantly inspired—@halfgallery.

I’m psyched to be in Australia because all of us at CR are fans of @seewantshop, @chroniclesofher, @garypeppergirl, @elle_ferguson, @tashsefton, @zanitazanita, @margaret__zhang.



WWW: What do you put the longevity of your career and label down to?

CR: It’s a ‘no boundaries’ approach to fashion. We’re constantly evolving and always doing new things to keep the collection elevated. Each one feels brand new to me and I get really excited about new things. Sometimes I stop and think to myself, “Hey, this fashion thing is really starting to work.”

WWW: What do you think it is about your label that resonates with Australian women?

CR: The first time I came to Australia was for the launch of our surf and swim collection, so I think that’s still a popular part of the brand.



WWW: In what ways do you take risks? Do you think taking risks contributes to success?

CR: Every idea starts as a little seed and then to make it a reality is a huge risk. It’s very hard work to produce a lot of what we do, and so a lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into it. You just have to keep your fingers crossed that it will work out. There are no rules on how to do any of what we do, so it’s a lot of trial and error and hope and dreams. 

WWW: Does your personal taste often affect your decisions?

CR: It’s the only way to be authentic.

WWW: If someone was to buy only one Cynthia Rowley piece—what do you think it should be?

CR: I can’t choose for someone else! There’s such a wide range that I would never want to single one thing out. (I do love the wetsuits!).



WWW: What do you think your brand is best known for?

CR: The mix of sporty and pretty.

WWW: What is your #1 styling tip for going from beach to bar?

CR: A long cotton printed dress, flat sandals, and a headscarf. Sunglasses at night (optional).

WWW: What’s your best advice for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

CR: DON’T DO IT! (Haha) It’s a huge commitment and tons of work. It never gets easier, it just gets different. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Be creative in all aspects of your business, never take ‘no’ for an answer, be thankful for everything, and live your life and your work with the same passion.

WWW: What’s your proudest moment to date?

CR: Could it be… Fashion Week Australia? (wink, wink).

What do you owe your success to? Share in the comments below and shop current season Cynthia Rowley.

Want more style? Follow us on Pinterest.