Barrington High School alumna and designer extraordinaire Cynthia Rowley thrilled locals in early June when she returned to her hometown to set up a pop-up shop at Barrington’s White House. Those who follow this fashion icon’s career know the story of how she pushed the boundaries at the School of Art Institute of Chicago and used her experience (with just $3,000 in seed money) to venture off to New York City to build her global lifestyle brand. A favorite among celebrities and high-profile influencers alike, Rowley has signature shops in New York, Charleston, Malibu, Montauk, Miami, Palm Beach, Atlanta, Aspen, and her personal favorite location on Damen Avenue in Chicago. She has appeared on America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, The David Letterman Show, The View, and Oprah, among others. We were excited to be able to catch up with Rowley after her Barrington appearances to ask her about a few of her favorite “lasts.” Here’s what she had to say:
Last trip or experience that inspired your work?
Every adventure is inspiring and we love a mind-expanding, daring expedition. My husband and I pack up the kids and GO! Camping in the Himalayas in Bhuton, diving in an arctic glacier in Iceland, a 72-hour trip to Egypt, dune bashing in Abu Dhabi, and list goes on and on.
Last great book you read that you recommended to a friend?
I have a hard time sitting still long enough to read a book. I think podcasts are a great way to infuse learning and entertainment into other experiences. The Ultimate Health Podcast has been a fav of late.
Last fabulous meal that you won’t soon forget?
We cook at home a lot and experiment with some exotic ingredients; it’s a great creative outlet.
Last life epiphany that still has you thinking?
Fashion has changed so radically since I began, so every day I think of new ways to reinvent my work. From wetsuits to an exciting new fitness collaboration, it’s important to be authentic and passionate about all the things we do.
Last unexpected compliment that you received about your designs that made you blush?
It’s so nice when people take the time to compliment someone. I feel like it’s always blush-worthy, even if they’re talking about my dog…