Melissa Battifarano

Creative, Visionary, Designer Darling of American Fashion.

Melissa Battifarano has been an American fashion designer for over 10 years and since graduating from FIT where she studied knitwear, she has risen through the ranks of established brands from Tommy Hilifiger and Ralph Lauren to launching Tory Sport. Additionally, she was the senior designer for Sean Jean (where the brand won the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year award) and most recently, Melissa served as design director for Rhianna's line FentyxPuma. Melissa believes with strong conviction that it is time for women to be in charge of their own destinies. 

Q: Where is home? 

A: I've live in the LES for the past 15 years

Q: How would you describe yourself in 3 words? 

A: Loyal, confident, strong willed.

Q: Favorite song of all time?

A: Frank Sinatra "My way," it reminds me of my father.

Q: Complete the sentence: I got my big break when…

A: I was finally hired as a director at Ralph Lauren. I interviewed there four times! It was my favorite American brand for so long. To finally get hired there, and walk into those offices uptown… I said it out loud, “I made it”. I still hold onto my business cards from that job seven years ago. 

Q: Last album you listened to

A: R Kelly Tp2

Q: A woman you admire? 

A: There are a lot of women I admire, the first being my mother. She passed away when I was 5, and I admire her for her quiet strength. I admire Jackie O for her fortitude, and grace and style through all the adversity.

Q: Complete the sentence. When I wake up in the morning I... 

A: I give my dog Rocco belly rubs for a good 5 minutes.

Q: Best advice you’ve ever been given?

A: Always overdress and you will never be underdressed

Q: One thing not many people know about you?

A: I am fiendish about making to do lists on my phone. Nothing Is more rewarding than checking off a to do list!

Q: Your advice to an emerging maker?

A: My advice would be to always be prepared for the worst, because inevitably, the garment will rip, the presentation will get coffee spilled on it, the laptop battery will die, there will be an accident on the BQE, etc. You must think of absolutely everything, so you can really focus on the task at hand, and not the “what if” something goes wrong, because it always does and that can NOT be the end of story.

Q: The time I nearly gave up…explain.

A: Never gave up because there is nothing else I can do but design and create.

Q: Complete this sentence: The future is female because…

A: It is time we were in charge of our own destinies, and stopped letting men dictate our opinions and lives. We need to empower our girls to have the confidence to speak their minds and let their opinions be heard from a young age.