Lifestyle Mogul Reaches New Heights
Article written by Daniel Medici published in On Point Lifestyle & Fashion Magazine
Stepping off her Gulfstream Jet in High Point, North Carolina, last week, Kathy Ireland was welcomed by a group of photographers and fans. The supermodel turned super mogul exuded warmth and kindness, as she signed autographs and welcomed fan photos. The richest model in the world left Greensboro in an RV followed by a fleet of SUVs to tour her showroom for the start of her week at High Point Market.
Kathy Ireland started modeling when she was just 16 years old. She appeared in 13 consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editions and maintains the cover model title of best-selling issue of all time. In 1993, Kathy Ireland placed her name on a line of socks and sold over $100 million pairs. Receiving Kmart’s attention, her name was added to clothing, swimwear, accessories, and more. With substantial licensing success, Kathy ireland® Worldwide was established making Ireland one of the most successful women in the US selling over $2.6 billion at retail per year according to Forbes. Her designer products including furniture, intimate wear, handbags, and more can be found online at Amazon.com.
Home furnishing is nothing new to Ireland’s repertoire. Ireland’s brand has been focusing on the millennial demographic in its recent launches. Her latest collection, Michael Amini® Kathy Ireland® Home Designs, was by far the most visually incredible showroom at High Point Market this year. Known for his luxurious designs and signature style fit for a king, uber-stylish Michael Amini paired up with Kathy Ireland to create the perfect formula of affordable luxury to capture the next generation of furniture shoppers.
Ireland explains the purpose of her new line: “[W]hen [millernials] get a house[s], they not only want beautiful product[s] and great quality – they want to know how [the pieces are] made, what’s going on behind the scenes, [and] how [their purchases] impact the environment.”
Ireland is trailblazing through other industries as well. Just recently, Charlotte headquartered Level Brands, led by CEO Martin Sumichrast who accompanied Ireland to High Point Market this year, announced that Ireland would become the first female Chairman Emeritus to launch a Regulation A+ IPO. Level Brands created bold, unconventional, and socially responsible branding for leading businesses, something that falls in line with Ireland’s mission. A brand partner, Beauty & Pin-Ups, was the first company to feature a person with down syndrome as the face of their beauty industry. Ireland supported this disruptive brand by showcasing her signature locks styled with Beauty and Pin-Ups products all weekend at High Point Market.
Level Brands also recently added the world-renowned artist Romero Britto to their portfolio under EE1, corporate brand management, and producer of experiential entertainment events and products. Britto’s latest pop-art statement piece, Kathy Ireland®, was premiered at High Point Market in the Amini-Ireland showroom. The reveal captured plenty of press and attention, including students in attendance from High Point University, on Friday’s Kathy Ireland® Day as High Point Mayor Bill Bencini presented Ireland with a Key to the City and proclamation.
“We are thrilled to bring Romero to our Level Brands and kiWW family,” says Ireland. “Romero’s reach extends beyond his amazing artistry. [His] tireless and passionate work on behalf of charities such as Best Buddies International, St Jude’s Research Center, and The Prince’s Trust is truly inspiring to us.”
Britto’s painting and Key to High Point City were not the only things sparkling in Kathy Ireland’s showroom. During High Point Market, Ireland wore over 30 million dollars in jewels from her lines Kathleen Marie Paul Raps New York and Diamonds by Kathy ireland®as well as private gifts never seen before from Elizabeth Taylor. Ireland typically shies away from the spotlight when wearing her private collection. However, this year at Market she opened all of the trunks for this major launch, which dazzled the audience with jewels that broke records at Christie’s Auction House. One of her largest pieces was a monumental 32 carat “and growing” diamond ring, which was a guest showstopper all week.
Elizabeth Taylor also gifted Ireland her 1992 Oscar, which adorned one of the bureaus in the Amini-Ireland showroom on the 8thfloor of the IHFC building. Taylor won this award for her humanitarian efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Following in her footsteps, on December 1st, World AIDS Day, Ireland will be donating the first $100,000 of an ongoing commitment to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. “Elizabeth challenged us to bring about, with the help of doctors, humanitarians, and God, a generation free of HIV/AIDS. We cannot let Elizabeth down. It will happen,” said Ireland. An incredible brand marketer and humanitarian, Ireland is certainly living up to her promise to serve others by making this world a more beautiful place.