Rebecca Ford, a resident of New Canaan, CT, had her first taste of success when she was 21 years old and made the full-page cover of the business section of the Montreal Gazette as a young female fashion entrepreneur. Sensuality and exuberant youth were integrated into her high-end designs for young ladies when she launched her apparel line of premium luxury denim called Luscious. Since 1994, Ford has grown with her audience, branching out into new shapes and materials while firmly establishing herself in the Montreal art and music scene. The main boutique-based brand for young women in Canada at the time, Luscious, with its edgy, outspoken, and fun range, sprang from this niche. Her clothing business blossomed in boutiques in Denmark, England, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan, and the US, extending her reach well beyond the North American continent. She is originally from Canada and had previously lived abroad as a youngster in India and Germany. Her ability to stay on trend led to the creation of chic, it-girl fashion, exquisitely designed apparel, and internationally best-selling books.
The McCord-Stewart Museum in Montreal has acknowledged and praised Ford’s contributions to Canadian fashion. On the internationally watched Griffe d’Ore annual awards event, which honored the skills and accomplishments of the Quebec Fashion Industry, she received the renowned Marie Soleil Tougas Award for best new designer in 2000. She has gained notoriety, particularly as a young female entrepreneur who started her multi-million dollar fashion line at 21.
When the initial collection debuted in stores and swiftly sold out over a weekend after the brand’s 1994 introduction, Luscious quickly established itself as a favorite among cool girls. The brand immediately gained popularity. Ford created her premium luxury denim collection with a unique approach that combined urban comfort and edgy elegance. She received the first support she needed to develop the brand from a few Quebec boutiques, and by 2001, the business had expanded internationally and employed 14 employees.
Rebecca pursued a formal degree in art history at Concordia University in Montreal. She gained a comprehensive perspective, an appreciation of the ideas and methods employed across the discipline, and a competitive edge when working as a designer due to her immersion in art history. Her lack of formal fashion design training allowed her to be truly original and a trendsetter. She gained an understanding of culture, form, and media through her exploration of the world of art, and her work in design allowed her to combine the two fields.
Rebecca Ford, who lives in New Canaan, has a special connection to several causes. A program called Neighbor to Neighbor tries to better the lives of those in need by giving food and clothing that have been donated. Ford has volunteered her time in the department that handles clothing contributions. She truly appreciates watching beautiful designer apparel donations from the Greenwich, Connecticut, region given to women and families in need. Ford participates in the International Rescue Committee and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
She subsequently left the fashion industry after an exhilarating ten-year stint at the helm of the Luscious brand. In sustainable landscape design, Ford is actively pursuing her passion for design. Ford had the good fortune to live abroad after leaving the fashion industry, concentrating on her husband’s work and raising her family in England, Holland, and Belgium. In 2023, she will celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary. She likes riding horses, skiing, and kiteboarding. She is presently a Connecticut resident.
Where did the idea for Luscious come from?
The connection between fashion, dance, and the underground street movement inspired the company’s name. It connotes a sense of passion, luxury, and attraction.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day would comprise an early start and work throughout the day until late in the evening and involve an ever-evolving series of tasks, pivoting from focusing on long-term projects and designing the products to addressing the daily challenges of running a small company. The challenges typically range from managing employees, meeting with suppliers, meeting with salespeople, and dealing with media inquiries, to the mundane tasks of responding to emails and following up on calls.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Fashion improvisation comes from my world, the city streets, natural elements, and cultural elements. I am also led by the fabrics and innovations in textiles and how this can be applied to sketches of ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Sustainable fashion, use of sustainable methods for fashion, and how the product can be adapted to create less waste and use more earth-friendly materials. One of the things about the fashion industry that has always bothered me is the waste that is created in the production, distribution, use, and eventual disposal of fashion products. At the same time, people have a basic human need to be clothed, kept warm, and mostly to look good! So I am motivated by themes like circularity, reuse of materials, taking carbon-based fibers out of clothing, waste reduction, and keeping fashion waste out of landfills.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have always worked best under the pressure of meeting deadlines. People always advise that it’s better to work methodically, but for me, what works best is the pressure to get the job done.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Forget the distractions and ignore the dissenters. Keep your focus on your vision, and bring people around you who complement your strengths and help address the areas where you are weaker.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It seems like a lot, as I like to take differentiated positions.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Share your knowledge and learn from the people around you. Try to help others develop and launch their ideas. Benefit from open communication and collaboration.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Focus on quality of product and execution. Work closely with your customers, and choose your partners carefully. Manage your growth cautiously
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I once launched too many products; I needed to rationalize the product line and focus on our strongest areas.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Circular fashion line with fully recyclable, reusable materials
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
That is a tough question. Nothing comes to mind at the moment.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I don’t have a preference for one particular software or web service.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Educated, by Tara Westover. It tells the story of finding your way by the strength of your convictions and succeeding despite the trappings of background, convention, lack of money, and ignorance that may hold you back. It brings out the power of education to free your mind, challenge your thinking and open yourself to new directions.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you always try to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be”. Maya Angelou
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.