It would be inaccurate to refer to Yigal Azrouël as an emerging designer, but the designer himself might argue that the statement has some validity to it. Although he's been on the fashion scene for 12 years, only now does he seem to be hitting his stride.
His dream, he tells Business of Fashion, is to be the "next big fashion house in the world," while making grandiose comparisons to Ralph Lauren—a dream he plans to achieve through his own deliberately plotted-out course. "You see a lot of brands out there becoming stars over night. And then they disappear. I am building it slowly, slowly. It's much deeper. It's much stronger," he says.
Here, a look so far:
1998 - Azrouël founded his line 12 years ago; newly-arrived from Israel and without any formal training in fashion design, the occasional stylist crafted his ten-piece collection from jersey, which sold to Barneys New York. Shortly thereafter, he met Donata Minelli whose past experience included working with both Dolce & Gabbana and D&G labels. Minelli became Azrouël's CEO, urging him to open his first showroom and corporate offices.
February, 1999 - Azrouël staged his first runway collection at New York's Fall/Winter 2000 Fashion Week.
2003 - Azrouël opened his first retail store in the Meatpacking District.
2004 - Azrouël was inducted into the CFDA.
2009 - The designer offered his first menswear line for Fall 2009.
Fall 2010 - In additon to e-commerce, Azrouël expanded his brand further with the launch of Cut25 (a name based on his favorite number), a contemporary womenswear line with a lower price point. "We looked at the market, and I don't think it exists in the market, what I do—a more feminine, a bit more sexy top or sportswear," he noted.
Looking ahead to 2011 and the not-so-distant future, the designer and Minelli plan to open more retail spaces, including another location—possibly in midtown—for Azrouël's main line here in the city. But as his path thus far has already indicated, slow and steady wins the race. "For me, it's all about longevity," he said.