Kin Ying Lee is one of the Top 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012
Kin Ying Lee, who graduated in 1999 and is currently the head designer at New York-based Madewell fashion firm, has been listed as one of the Top 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012 by the influential Fast Company magazine.
Fast Company has listed Kin as the 31st Most Creative Person in Business 2012, in an impressive list which includes senior staff at Facebook, Starbucks, JC Penney and Nike in addition to musicians such as CeeLo Green. Kin said: "It's incredible recognition for the Madewell brand and the team."
Born in Hong Kong, Kin moved to Grimsby in the north-east of England aged six where she had to quickly learn to speak English. She studied fashion at Kingston University, graduating with a fashion design job already set up at Abercrombie & Fitch, and later became instrumental in the start up of both Hollister Co. and Ruehl brands in the USA.
In 2005 she moved to New York-based J. Crew where she relaunched Madewell, from an old work wear company created in 1937 to a brand that is now known for its cool effortless style rooted in denim. Now the brand has more than 40 stores plus an internet and catalogue business.
Kin is eager to continue the brand's sense of history and heritage by ensuring that denim still plays a major part in its range. She takes her fashion inspiration from vintage and loves to refer to menswear.
"I have wonderful memories of my time at Kingston," Kin added. "It was a fashion design course that offered the best balance of creativity and enabled you to find your own voice and aesthetic. My fondest memory at Kingston was meeting my future husband, Dan Perna, who was on the same course. We now have two beautiful children." Dan works as a men's design director for J. Crew. At 34 years old, Kin combines her career with caring for their two children, Isabella, 5 and Marco, 3.