President and Creative Director
From her home in Michigan to her adopted home in New York City, to her travels around the world Pamella De Vos has seen her sense of fashion and elegance become an inspiration for confident women everywhere as the President and Creative Director of Pamella Roland. Recently she talked with Elite Traveler Editor-in-Chief Douglas Gollan about what makes her tick.
ET: How did you get into fashion?
Pamella De Vos: I’ve always been interested in fashion, dating back to when I worked in a women’s clothing store in my teens and early 20s. Although I would have loved to study fashion, my father encouraged me to pursue a business degree in college, and I also studied art history. I launched pamella roland in 2002, and my background in business and art history blend nicely with running a fashion business.
ET: Who is your target client and what attracts her to your designs?
Pamella De Vos: The pamella roland customer is looking for classic clothing but with updated twists. She understands subtle elegance, quality fabrics and fine craftsmanship. Our customer is a woman who goes from a boardroom to an after-school event to a cocktail reception, with many other stops along the way. She needs clothing that is beautiful but adaptable to the many settings that she finds herself in during any given day.
ET: Fashion is considered a tough business. What do you consider the keys to your success?
Pamella De Vos: Passion and persistence—you have to work really hard to have any chance of being successful in the fashion business.
ET: How are the current challenges affecting your company and how are you responding?
Pamella De Vos: Luxury goods have been hit hard by the down economy, so we have had to get creative and work closely with our retail partners to help drive customers into the stores. We are also listening closer than ever to what our customers are telling us they want.
ET: What areas of the business are you most involved?
Pamella De Vos: I’m involved in all areas of my business—sales and marketing, public relations, finance, production—but my passion is on the design side.
ET: Where does the name Roland come from?
Pamella De Vos: I started this business with a friend, and the name stuck.
ET: Did your time spent living in Japan influence you?
Pamella De Vos: My time in Japan helped me realize I wanted to expand my horizons and do some things I had been putting off while I raised our children.
ET: Are there any lessons learned from the time in Japan that you have applied to running your business?
Pamella De Vos: One thing that stuck with me is the global appeal of designer clothing. With our collections, we always keep in mind we are designing for women all over the world. We now have distribution in a number of different countries, and we continue to build our international business.
ET: So where are some of your favorite places to travel to?
Pamella De Vos: Cape Eleuthera in The Bahamas and Capri, Italy.
ET: Do you feel that jewelry, and in this case diamond jewelry, is very much a part of fashion?
Pamella De Vos: Absolutely! Pamella roland is well known for our beautiful evening gowns, and diamond jewelry is the perfect complement to our gowns.
ET: You are a big fan of the exclusive diamond jewelry brand Leviev, as they have been noticeably present in several of your runway shows at New York’s Bryant Park. What attracted you to the company?
Pamella De Vos: First, I have known the family that owns Leviev for a number of years, and I have always enjoyed working with them. Second, and most important, they are known for having some of the most extraordinary and beautiful diamonds in the world!
ET: How did that relationship develop into you and your family being featured in LEVIEV’s latest jewelry book?
Pamella De Vos: After having been a customer of Leviev and also having worked with them on our fashion shows and other events, we have developed a nice friendship. As our relationship grew and they got to know my family, they approached me with the idea of using my family in their catalog and we were thrilled to participate. I was also pleased that they were eager to use pamella roland designs throughout the jewelry book.
ET: Can you share one or two of your favorite jewelry pieces?
Pamella De Vos: For my 50th birthday, I received a beautiful Leviev intense yellow diamond ring. I also love my Leviev diamond strand necklace; it’s a versatile piece and very fun to wear.
ET: When you’re not working, any special passions or hobbies?
Pamella De Vos: Skiing, boating and traveling with my family, including visiting art museums and exhibitions around the world.
ET: Can you update us on some of your philanthropic endeavors?
Pamella De Vos: I love the arts, and many of my philanthropic activities relate to the arts. In Grand Rapids, I have been a long-time board member and supporter of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Symphony, the Grand Rapids Ballet, and many other organizations. In New York, my husband and I are members of the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and I also sit on the Whitney’s Painting and Sculpture Acquisitions Committee. In addition, I am on the board of the Children’s Scholarship Fund.
ET: You split your time between your hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan and New York, which are two very different places. Can you give us your idea of a perfect day in each?
Pamella De Vos: When I am in Michigan, I enjoy spending time with my family—either at my home or at our summer home on Lake Michigan. I also love holiday traditions—sitting by the fire, decorating the tree, etc. In New York, I am always very busy with work, but I also enjoy spending time with friends and going out to great restaurants.
ET: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Pamella De Vos: One of the things I love most about travel is learning about other cultures and meeting new people. I’m a girl from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but because of travel, we have friends and business interests around the world.