Adrienne Lazarus, B.A.’90
Finding the Right Career Path
By Carol Olechowski
A political science major and a history minor led Adrienne Lazarus to a career in the fashion business.
“I planned to pursue a career in international relations, politics or law,” recalled Lazarus, now president of Intermix, a leading fashion multi-brand retailer based in New York City. “I chose political science and history because I loved learning about those subjects, and I believed that if you love what you study, you will find your career path.”
Lazarus found that studying political science allowed her “to develop strong written and oral skills, which are necessary in most business roles.” From history, she learned “to see issues from multiple angles and opinions,” a dynamic that encouraged “creative thinking.” History, Lazarus added, “also taught me to understand and appreciate the history of an issue while making decisions, an asset in running a business. Fashion is a
creative, dynamic business that requires smart decision-making and the ability to communicate well with many different people. It is a people-intensive business, so interpersonal skills are critical.”
Her first job after graduation was with May Department Stores Company. “May Company was very selective in the schools it recruited from, and Albany was one of them. One day on campus, I met a recruiter who asked me to bring my resumé over, so I did, on a whim, and that led to my career in fashion. I left May Company after a year because I wanted to be in New York City, but I enjoyed it very much.”
Adrienne Lazarus and celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe pose for a photo with, left to right, Zoe’s husband, Roger Berman, and Intermix co-founders Khajak Keledjian and Haro Keledjian. Khajak is CEO of Intermix; Haro is chief operating officer.
Lazarus joined Ann Taylor in 1991. She worked her way up through the ranks, launching the Loft division and propelling it to more than $1 billion in sales before being promoted to president of Ann Taylor. After 17 years with the firm, “ready for something different and more creative,” Lazarus went on to head Intermix, which carries more than 200 brands, including Helmut Lang, Stella McCartney, Rag and Bone, J Brand, and Chloe and Mulberry. Intermix has seen a 40-percent increase in business since Lazarus’ arrival three years ago.