Josie Natori: “I feel like even though the brand is 40 years old, the best is yet to come.”

Fashion / November 07, 2019

The word “legend” gets thrown around a lot in the fashion industry. In a business where trends come and go faster than you can change into a new outfit, longevity becomes the stuff of myth.

Few have attained it. And sometimes, it’s not a guarantee of total success. Fashion legends aren’t measured solely by the years they have collected. It’s all about their ability to evolve, to create new avenues in style, to be the one to set the standard.

The Natori Company quickly ticks off all the requirements I stated above. Josie Natori is a woman who surpassed all expectations immediately when she started out her business. In the late ’70s, she became recognized as a high-end women’s sleepwear designer in New York.

Growth was fast and explored how Josie’s vision doesn’t have to be limited. The label found homes in Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, and Neiman Marcus.

The heritage brand Natori was joined by lines N Natori, Josie Natori, and Josie, embodying different aspects of the designer’s taste.

Home decor followed and fragrances along with collaborations. The cherry on top? Josie did all this before Instagram existed.

Forbes tags her as a self-made millionaire. Profiles of her laud how she elevated Filipino sensibilities into a global stage.

For some people, maybe they’d stop after doing all of this. But Josie didn’t get here by resting on her laurels. The elegant woman with a silent demeanor is always raring to do something new. She’s out to be the first one to do the next big thing.

There we all were last night. Josie’s next big thing, her fall/winter ’19 ready-to-wear collection, now available locally at Rustan’s.

I love how it’s for the woman who knows what she wants, gets down to work, but never without a feminine detail and playfulness in print.

Fabrics used include matte jersey, bi-stretch, and silky soft crepe married to silhouettes like kimono sleeve toppers, caftan tops, and wedge shape dresses.

After trying out a few pieces from the collection, I also made it a point to talk a little bit to the legend herself.

What type of woman do you like to dress? 

A confident woman. Seriously, I like women to feel good about themselves. I very much appreciate women. I want to be able to create clothes that enhance their life.

In general, it makes me happy to dress for women. I love it when someone is confident, daring, and dresses for herself.

Natori, as a brand, has evolved from lingerie to formal dressing. What’s next? 

It’s been 42 years. Natori is a concept of living and dressing that brings art into life. The East-West sensibility is the common thread. Femininity translates to home and accessories.

My biggest challenge and desire is to be relevant to the next generation. It’s really understanding the preferences of the next generation.

For me, you never should sit still, you have to keep listening to the customer, and getting better each season.

I feel like even though the brand is 40 years old, the best is yet to come. I think as we diversify, I want to be able to reach a different audience. I want to have different price points.

Being able to touch a wider audience globally is obviously the strategy.

What’s the biggest compliment you’ve ever received? 

When someone says to me, “I kept a piece from you for 35 years. I never throw it away. I love it.” They remember something when they look at the garment since lingerie is very personal. There’s something emotional about that. Women have an attachment to such things. That makes me feel good.

First, it proves that our quality stands the test of time. Second, it really makes someone feel special. It’s a treasure for her. That’s very touching to me.

It’s such a tough business. To me, it’s very rewarding to hear that they love it, and it makes them feel good. It makes the hard work worth it.

Fashion, Filipino Designer, Josie Natori, Natori, Rustans