Native Washingtonian Betsy Garcete Cohen is a study in stunning contrasts. The easy-going demeanor of the designer behind the CEO Skirt is more free spirit than boss lady, and her drop-dead gorgeous looks are more pin-up girl than corporate maven. But the petite, scarlet lipped (at all times, I might add) founder of Zophia is a woman with a mission, which in her own words, is “to help women embrace their natural silhouette and feel confident.” As a Latina woman growing up surrounded by strong and fashionable female figures (she named the brand after her grandmother who also happened to be a talented seamstress), Cohen knows a little something about that.
She formed her company in 2010 and tested several products before launching the “power skirt collection” in 2013 (the name alone inspires deference, doesn’t it?) She chose to focus on the pencil skirt because it is as classic and essential to every woman’s wardrobe as a little black dress, but she wanted to offer women a more personal version with a proper fit (because let’s face it: most women do not have the figures – or lack thereof – that are usually the basis for designers’ prototypes). All of the skirts in her collection are custom made based on the measurements, fabric, and style choices of each individual client. The result is a failsafe wardrobe piece that is not only versatile, but that showcases the unique shape and body type of the woman wearing it.
Most days, you’ll catch Cohen in ripped jeans, casual tops, and her signature red lipstick. She’s serious about growing her business, but light when it comes to life, preferring peace and quiet (and a good glass of wine) to the limelight of the DC fashion scene. She is a perfectionist when it comes to her designs and aesthetics in general, but a kind, generous, and open-minded friend (I did my first official collaboration with Zophia when I started blogging, and I am eternally grateful for her confidence and ongoing support).
Without further ado, the answers to the Proust Questionnaire of Betsy G. Co-Cohen:
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being loved and being free.
What is your greatest fear? Being alone.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Anxiety.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Selfishness.
Which living person do you most admire? My mother.
What is your greatest extravagance? Sleeping more than eight hours.
What is your current state of mind? Hopeful.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Creativity.
On what occasion do you lie? To save someone embarrassment.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? My height, but I’m psychologically tall because of it.
Which living person do you most despise? None.
What is the quality you most like in a man? Loyalty.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Loyalty.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I find myself using the word “literally” tons.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband.
When and where were you happiest? Right now. Happinesss in the present moment keeps me grounded.
Which talent would you most like to have? I’d love to be great at ice skating or ballet.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Surprisingly, I wouldn’t change a thing.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My relationship with my loved ones.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A jaguar.
Where would you most like to live? Anywhere where I can have peace and quiet!
What is your most treasured possession? My Iphone.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Feeling sorry for yourself.
What is your favorite occupation? Fashion designer and/or surgeon.
What is your most marked characteristic? I’m a hustler.
What do you most value in your friends? Humor.
Who is your hero of fiction? James Bond.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Coco Chanel.
Who are your heroes in real life? My parents.
What are your favorite names? Xavier and Anahi.
What is it that you most dislike? Being bored.
What is your greatest regret? I don’t have one yet.
How would you like to die? In my sleep.
What is your motto? Love to the fullest.