Liz Claiborne, American Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur, born 1929 in Brussels, Belgium, died 2007 in New York. After studying art with various artists in Europe, Claiborne took part in the Jacques Heim National Design Contest in 1949, which she won. Soon after she moved to New York, where she worked for various Designers including Tina Leser and Omar Kiam in the Garment District. Frustrated that none of the designers she worked for offered clothing for working women, Claiborne decided to establish her own fashion design company in 1976. The brand became a huge success and took over the upscale sportswear market. By displaying her collection separately from other brands in department stores, Claiborne revolutionized the retail business. In 1981, Liz Claiborne Inc. went public and became the first Fortune 500 listed company founded and run by a woman. In 1986, Claiborne retired from management, but the company continued to expand, acquiring other fashion brands.
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