The Julia Farr Collection is a fashion label with a laser focus: dressing professional women in clothes that make them feel sophisticated, feminine and confident. “Although we follow fashion trends and incorporate them into our designs, we design for the boardroom, not the runway,” says Ann Tierney Prochnow, the brand’s CEO and a Kansas City native.
Prochnow co-founded the Julia Farr Collection with its President and Creative Director, Julia Farr Connolly, in 2012. Today the collection, which includes sleek dresses, skirts, blouses and jackets, is sold exclusively at its eponymous boutique in Washington, DC, at Hudson & Jane in Crestwood and at private trunk shows around the country and right here in Prochnow’s hometown.
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How did a girl from Kansas City come to found a fashion label that outfits White House staffers and Fortune 500 company executives?
My fashion career started in Kansas City when I was 16-years-old. Rick Brehm, who now owns Hudson & Jane in Crestwood, hired me as a holiday gift wrapper at the Ralph Lauren/Polo Shop when it first opened on the Plaza. I continued to work there through high school and during summer holidays while I was in college, clawing my way out of the stock room and onto the sales floor. When I graduated from Georgetown in 1988 and moved to New York, Rick connected me with the president of Ralph Lauren Footwear, and they hired me as a wholesale sales associate. My connection with Rick endures today, as his store carries Julia Farr Collection.
You spent years in the fashion industry and Connolly worked as an attorney, before teaming up to start this collection. Was it the struggle to find the right clothing during this time that inspired the collection?
Women leaders (and those women who aspire to be leaders) are underserved in the fashion world, since many fashion labels are too provocative for the professional woman. We are completely focused on serving the woman who has to get up every day and go to work, desiring a feminine, polished profile.
When designing our collection, Julia is inspired by the women she encounters every day. They tell her what their needs are for their daily schedule of meetings and receptions, as well as presentations, media appearances and travel. She designs pieces in response to those needs, attending to the best lines and fit that are appropriate for the places they go and where they meet and work.
So much of your brand is built around empowering and supporting women.
Since our inception, we have donated a portion of trunk-show sales to women’s- and children’s-based charities, as well as in-kind clothing donations to various charities. We are proud to be an entirely women-owned, operated and financed company in an industry where women make up less than 20 percent of leadership positions. Our goal is to elevate women in this field and help to develop more female leaders.
Together, we are inspired to show our daughters that, even after staying at home to raise our children, we can re-enter the workforce, create a business, and help others along the way. Through the implementation of the Julia Farr Collection direct sales program, we plan to inspire other women to do the same.
What will you be wearing this fall?
My go-to piece is the Blair Dress. The breathable but substantial ponte knit makes it the perfect dress to transition from wearing with sling-back heels on a sunny fall day to wearing with suede boots on cold winter nights. And I know Julia loves our K Street Suit: a two-piece structured top and skirt that looks like a dress but has the versatility of a suit.
Shop the complete Julia Farr Collection in February at a private trunk show in the metro area. For more information on the trunk show, go to