Friday, September 26, 2014


In todays modern culture women are bombarded with magazine ads, movies, television and music videos - and all you see are half naked, photo shopped/pin up girls.  How can you compete with that you think, am I right?  I'll tell you how, you don't. Why?  Because, it's not real.  Society these days has given women a complex and it has become downright dangerous and misleading.  Because at the end of the day all they want to do is sell you something.

I got into fashion for the love of creating garments that conveyed elegance, and that brought out the beauty in every women.  But, fashion these days also has missed the point.  Nowadays anybody who picks out a pin, button or print thinks they can call themselves a designer - IT JUST DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT!  And it's a shame!  Take for instance my students, when they go out into the real world who do the jobs go to?  Some A, B or C list celebrity putting their name on something that they didn't design.  All they had to do was approve it.  Jobs that should be going to real, talented designers go to these fake/poser designers looking to make a quick buck.

I want to finish with this - some of you out there have expressed that you don't feel beautiful until you put on one of my designs (it's an honor that my designs make you feel that way), but you are all beautiful, please you must know that, and that you must wear the clothes and not the other way around.  What I mean by that is, you can wear a turkish towel and some pearls as long as you exude confidence - anything can work.  Believe in yourself and others will too!  Reclaim your power from societies imaginary and unattainable standards and live your life in power not defeat, Simonton Says.

Take care for now.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never Forgetting 9/11

Thirteen years have gone by and I can still remember Sept. 11 2001.  My continued love and prayers go out to my fellow Americans (civilians and military) who have lost their lives both domestically and abroad.  However, my love stretches farther then that.  All the innocent men, women and children in the Middle East have my deepest sympathy's as well.  Humanity is so eloquently inter woven and connected that our division these days with race, religion, gender and so on only creates a detachment from it.  Nobody wants war, but those who stand to profit from it.  The lives of countless families have been turned upside down by the actions of a few.  I pray that humanity will set aside their differences and unite, evolve and aspire to become more loving, understanding and compassionate beings.  

My solution and plea to you all is, LOVE.  Not the love that's thrown around in movies, music and the media, but the love that can transform the planet.  It starts with each and everyone of us.  Committing random acts of kindness instead of random acts of violence can be the inception of something profoundly rewarding.  Love doesn't cost anything so, go out into the world and love every moment and human being like it's your last day on this planet, Simonton Say's.

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Rise Up The Fashion Ladder. Part 3/3

Hello Everyone!!!

I have been caught in a recent whirlwind of work and, unfortunately, my blog was neglected.  Apologies for keeping you all waiting, so picking up where I left off… 

My new endeavor with Al and Felice Lippert was such an exciting time for me.  I was fortunate and blessed to have been cosmically, by the grace of God, placed in their presence.  This is what you would call being in the right place at the right time.  Al turned out to be a true visionary and this partnership was and still is something that I will always cherish.  With Al and Felice's  encouragement and support - sky was the limit.  These two beautiful souls backed up my ideas one hundred percent and before I knew it I found myself in every major store in America.  From Sake's Fifth Ave., to Neiman Marcus, to Bergdorf Goodman, to Lord & Taylor, plus the inclusion of eight hundred specialty stores all through the U.S.A.  My garments were even represented in some very fine London boutique stores.  You could say that I finally arrived…with a BANG!  The Lippert's were so generous and made me feel like I was a part of there family.  I was invited often to their lavish homes in Long Island and Manhattan.  They took me to the racetrack to cheer on their purebred race horse.  I remember how they exuded class and elegance without even trying, and how I aspired to be in their shoes one day.  

Before I could say couture, I found myself being consumed by this vortex of recognition.  I was being sought after by every major fashion magazine and paper, including The New York Times, all of whom wanted to know "George Simonton".   I was privileged to dress stars and celebrities from both the small and big screen.  News Anchors from New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Dallas.  Even the prestigious CFDA (Council Of Fashion Designers Of America) asked me to join their illustrious group of fashion colleagues.  The eighties and nineties proved to be a dream come true and I never felt better.  I paid my dues and found myself rising up the fashion ladder.  

Now, the dawn of the 21st Century proved to be anything but radiant.  My business would take an unexpected turn for the worse when my dear friends, Al and Felice, both passed away in a short period of time.  They both acted as my rock, my support system and all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, I found myself vulnerable and without a compass.  My business was slowly drifting out to sea and needed an anchor.  Against my better judgement I found myself in partnership with Cruella Deville and her henchman.  They turned out to be bullies and took advantage of my kindness.  They were trying to push me out of my business, and even steal my name.   To add insult to injury my mother was very ill.  She didn't have much time, but when I confided in her - she reinforced the one thing that was etched in my mind from when I was a young man and that was,  "HAVE FAITH IN THE DEAR LORD!"   Through much prayer and faith my dear friend, Ernie, proved to be my life raft and helped to reel me back to shore.  He found me a superb lawyer and through this hardship was able to score my business and my career a win and a new beginning.

Putting all of that negativity behind me,  I was approached by a couple of Chinese conglomerate's who recognized my talent and backed me up without the blink of an eye.  My career was now on the upswing and I would never look back.  Fast forward a couple years later and life as I knew it would change forever.  Being approached by QVC to design a women's sport-wear line would catapult me in a totally different direction and I relished in the opportunity.   

I feel so fortunate to have come so far.  The good and the bad have made me who I am today.  It has brought me to this point: a tenured professorship at The Fashion Institute Of Technology (where I've earned the highest student evaluation in my department), and have come full circle in the sense that I now get to be a positive influence in thousands of aspiring designers' lives like my teachers were for me.  F.I.T has also given me the opportunity to form a life long friendship with the president, Dr. Joyce Brown.  She is such an exquisite person and I am blessed to have her in my inner circle of valued friendships.  I now find myself with QVC for eleven years and coming up in 2015 I will be celebrating a major milestone - 50 years on Seventh Avenue (Fashion Avenue).   

I find myself reflecting on my life and career, and boy do I feel like I'm just getting started!  Social media has helped to propel me and my designs in some really cool mediums.  My creative spark has been rejuvenated by all my fans and friends on Facebook and Instagram.  The support and interaction is phenomenal, and I plan on designing for as long as you will all continue to have me.  Let me conclude with this:  I worked hard to get where I am now, but don't think for one bit that all you out there can't achieve your wildest dreams.  I'm living proof that with tenacity, perseverance and determination you will "Make Your Own Luck" and obtain YOUR true destiny.  There is a wonderful quote that says, "IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT".  

God Bless you all!

George Simonton

Thursday, July 3, 2014

How I Got Started Part Two.

Thank you all for stopping by and joining me for part two of three on how I rose to the top of the fashion ladder.  

After six years of entry level work I felt it was time to spread my wings.  I was truly blessed and grateful to have started my journey working for Dan Millstein.  I met so many people along the way.  I met fabric people, trimming people, shoulder and lining people.  Yes, believe it or not, fashion is still a people business.  Forget social media and the like.  To acquire a great job you must network - in the flesh.

I was very friendly with a shoulder pad expert named, Harold Lapotta.  Harold recommended me to Fashion House Junior Profile.  To my delight, Fashion House had heard of me and was interested in bringing me on to design.   The interview went great, I was given the job as designer and off I went, but not without much sadness because I had to leave my close friend and mentor, Fay.  We always remained close friends until the day she passed away.

During those days there were always in house models.  And the head model at Fashion House (former Miss N.Y State) was drop dead gorgeous.  Unfortunately, the two gent's that ran the company were her competing suitors.  However, this unprofessionalism would be the downfall of the company.  With my ever growing list of contacts in the industry I was brought in to be head designer for a company called, Valor Division Of U.S. Industries.  Here is where I met top sales person Earl Sheldon.  He would later start a jean company called, Mushrooms, and ask me to design for the line.  He had me doing everything from jeans, jackets and skirts.  While working at Valor, I was also first to design a junior outerwear for the overseas market.  While I was in China and working at the factories there was another big company from the U.S. sharing the same facilities called, Forecaster Of Boston.  The owner of Forecaster liked what I was doing so much he surprised me with a job offer when I returned to the states.  

This was a very fine company, but my only concern was that they were producing basic merchandise.  I was so use to high end, couture fashion - this would definitely be quite the departure, but I was offered a very lucrative salary.   And as Tom Cruise would have said, they showed me the money, and I went.  While working at Forecaster I had the pleasure of meeting the fashion editor of Women's Wear Daily (WWD).  This was the fashion bible, the holy grail of the industry.  Her name was Sheila Banik and, suffice to say, we became old friends fast.  One day during a lunch meeting with Sheila, she said that she was leaving the paper and was going into showroom sales.  She got this idea from a women friend of her's out of Detroit.  This women wanted to start a high end company and aspired to sell the garments to all the top stores.  As a pleasant surprise Sheila asked me to come on as head designer of the house.  I was extremely flattered and honored due to the fact that she could have had her pick of any of the top designers, but she chose me.

Who was this mysterious women from Detroit with such ambition?  I had to meet her and, of course, I did.  I was liking what she was putting down, but - and there is always a but - she wanted me strictly as a freelancer to start.  But what sparked my interest and excitement was the idea of building a company from its inception.  You see, an established company brings a designer in and it's there way and what they want, but with a new company I personally had a great opportunity for creative freedom.  The name of the company would be called, Cest' Simone.  And the funny thing was everyone though I was part owner because it was thought that Simone was a derivative of my last name, Simonton.  Anyhow, the company started to take off like a rocket ship.  I created a complete collection that included: dresses, pants, sweaters, scarfs and blouses.  This was a designers dream come true and boy did I have to pinch myself a couple of times.  However, with all my hard work (blood, sweat and tears) I felt under - appreciated.   After two years of company growth and success I received a phone call from the owner, she said, " George, we have the tiger by the tale.  I want you to come work for me full time.  Let's get you a contract".  She also added, "I'm going to take real good care of you" ( famous last words, hint, hint).

We were in all the top stores throughout the country and eight hundred specialty stores.  The success of Cest' Simone brought me all kinds of awards and tons of exposure from regional markets through Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago.  I was featured in editorials from fashion magazines to newspapers.  Unfortunately, while little miss thing was getting rich I was being strung along on my measly salary.  Contracts were promised, but never materialized.  But I still had a lot of faith in the dear Lord and new there were better things along the horizon.  My prayers were answered when my dear friend, Marvin Goldstein, came into the showroom with an angel sent from heaven who would change my life forever.  Her name was Felice Lippart.  She came in dressed to the nines - hair, clothing, make up, jewelry - everything was impeccable.  The thing about wealthy women is they love to shop, but more than that is they love to shop wholesale.  She was pulling my designs off the racks like they were going out of style.  I asked Marvin in a whisper, "Where is she going with all these clothes?" She heard me, which made my heart go into my mouth and said, "Darling, I have three homes and I want to fill them all up."  It turned out she and her husband, Al Lippart, were the co-founders of Weight Watchers and they just recently sold their part of the company to Heinz for 78 million dollars.  She was exuding wealth and, lucky me to have been wonderful friends with Marvin, otherwise I never would have met her.  When Al started to notice all the compliments Felice was getting when she wore my designs, a light bulb went off in his head.  You see, Al himself was no stranger to the garment business.  He was the president of the Coat and Suit Association so, needless to say, he knew his stuff and wanted to meet me.

A dinner was arranged between the three of us and that very night Al said, "How would you like your own business?"  I mean, this is serious money we're talking.  To open up a business on Seventh Avenue is not for the squeamish.  So, after talking for many months and getting the logistics squared away, George Simonton LTD was established in 1985 and hasn't missed a beat since. 

That night when I went home for a nice long soak in the bath, I thought to myself, not bad for a poor boy from Brooklyn.  Not bad at all.

Stay tuned for next week and the conclusion of my rise up the fashion ladder.


Friday, June 27, 2014

How I got started.

Hello Everyone!!!

I decided to make these next few blog weeks about how I worked my way up the ladder in the fashion world, and mention briefly the many people I met along the way.

This poor boy from Brooklyn didn't have much, but what he did have was a talent…so I was told.  While attending Fort Hamilton High School some of my teachers took notice of a certain gift and interest I had (my love for fabrics, movies and everything desirable).  It was recommended I seek out a conduit/outlet to really hon in an find my niche.  That outlet and stepping stone would be The Fashion Institute Of Technology. 

The first time I set foot onto the F.I.T grounds I knew this is where I needed to be.  And winning a scholarship solidified that this was the right path I needed to be on.  It also silenced the doubts and fears this young boy had about his talents and aspirations.  As part of F.I.T's program, in the last semester a student must pick their specialty.  I knew right away what my niche would be: contemporary tailoring.  50 years later on 7th Avenue, it still is.  

However, my first job - the year being 1965 and I remember it vividly - was not exactly what  I wanted to be doing, but it would turn out to be a blessing in disguise.  The job was for a very famous coat and suit house named after the owner, Dan Millstein (who, by the way, was a coat and suit maker himself).  I showed up with a myriad of sketches underneath my arm only to be told I was being put in the design room.  I was so disappointed!  I wanted to design not be an assistant to the head pattern maker.  I didn't realize it then, but my advisors knew what they were doing.  I was learning the foundation, the nuts and bolts, when all my fellow graduates were not.  I can easily say that I developed a keen eye for perfection and detail while working for this company (we sold to all the high end stores - Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Ave., Nemain/Marcus and Lord and Taylor), and this is why I cannot be fooled by mediocrity.  The head pattern maker was a russian man, Benny Chalif, and my mentor for three years.  This guy worked his way up the chain to become a respected and well renowned artist in his own right.  Head pattern maker and what a talent he was.

Unbeknownst to me was a man called, Calvin Klein.  He was two years ahead of me and had also attended F.I.T.  Funny thing was we were now both in the same building and working for the same company.  Calvin was working on the eleventh floor for the mature line called, The Missy Division.  And I was on the second floor working in the junior department titled, The Dani' Junior.  Calvin was a very nice guy and we eventually formed a solid, professional friendship that would last for decades.  He told me at the time that I was so lucky to have hooked up with Fay Wagner, who was the head of showroom sales and the stylist for the designer junior line (this happened when my mentor Benny Chalif retired and recommended me to take over the design room  as head pattern maker - it was very exciting and a true honor).  You see, if I didn't get partnered with Fay it would have been with, Dan Millstein, and people were terrified of him when he came walking down the hall.  Very nice man, but very stern and tough.  Hey, I don't blame him.  It was his business and he ran a tight ship. 

So back to Fay, who I used to call my jewish Lucille Ball.  She had flaming red hair and a personality that would go on for days.  I asked her how she got her start in fashion and she said, "Honey, I was a model when was broadway was a prairie."  She was a riot.  Little by little I slowly started to infiltrate my personal designs to Fay and slowly but surely people started to notice.  I worked at my first job for six years - this was unheard of.  Your first job was supposed to be one of many step's  up the ladder - what a first step it was...

Stay tuned for more of my rise up the fashion ladder in next weeks blog.

Till next time.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Don't control the uncontrollable.

Hello All!

Today, after putting up a post on my Facebook page, I decided to change my blog.  

I said to myself, "let go of what you can't control and surrender to life."   This is especially important when what we're dealing with seems to be the end of the world.  But, the funny thing is whatever the obstacle or hardship may be we always seem to persevere through, don't you agree?  

Things happen to us not by accident, it is never by coincidence.  It is all a learning experience for our own personal growth and evolution.  Surrendering our control and allowing whatever it is we're dealing with to happen can be scary, but at the same time liberating.  

So when your life seems to be one bad experience after another try and be cognizant, take a breath and know that we are being guided by a higher power.  We can either accept what is happening, learn from it and move on - because let's face it, whether we like it or not its going to happen - or we can fight, deny and runaway, causing ourselves unnecessary stress and/or grief.   The choice is always up to US.  

Are you, right now, at this very moment dealing with some type of adversity?  Are you surrendering to the circumstances and all that comes with it?  Or are you playing the victim and dwelling in your self pity?  Instead of all that negativity, why not empower yourself, take a risk and surrender.  Let me say it one more time, TAKE A RISK AND SURRENDER TO THE MOMENT, Simonton Say's.

Till next time.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Don't Sell Yourself Short.

Aspire for GREATNESS.  We all have the potential to achieve the unimaginable so why do we keep selling ourselves short?!

I'm not sure if any of you have seen the Jim Carrey speech that's been floating all over FB, but it's truly amazing!  And the clip is only one minute.  I'm not going to quote anything he say's cause I want you all to see it,  but it has inspired me to write a blog based on following your dreams.  It's never too late.

(Here is the link by the way:

We constantly sell ourselves short based on fear and the thoughts that we're not good enough or talented enough.  We give in to societies standards and never allow ourselves the chance to shine.  We are all born with gifts and hidden talents that, if nurtured and developed, could give rise to fantastic contributions to mankind (God knows we need this now more then ever).

This is a call to humanity.  Please stand up and rise above mediocrity and give yourselves the chance to shine.  You all deserve it whether you believe it or not.  And you don't have to believe it right now.  You can at least 'fake it till you make it'.  The divine lives inside each and everyone of us, which makes you part of divinity.  We were put on this earth and given this life to create.  

You are all the creator's of your universe, use that as a launching pad.  Now,  live your life from love and give fear the back seat, Simonton Say's.

Till next time.