Wen Zhou grew up in the small town of Ningbo China. In 1985, she and her family moved to Chinatown, New York City – Zhou was just 12 years old and did not speak English. Upon arriving to New York, her mother worked as a seamstress and her father, who has previously a professor in China, found work as a dishwasher. Later, with money from after-school jobs in garment factories, Zhou enrolled in marketing and business classes at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology. After landing her first full-time position cutting swatches for a textile manufacturer, she was promoted to sales. At 21 years old, she began the first of her entrepreneurial pursuits with a business selling fabric. At 26 years old, she founded her second business, an offshore clothing production company, which further cemented her business acumen in the garment industry.
Through a fateful and fashionable meeting in Paris, Lim and Zhou became friends. When Lim was ready to move on from Development, his first line, it took less than a heartbeat for Wen to seize the opportunity. In the Fall of 2005, Wen and Phillip launched 3.1 Phillip Lim, they were both 31at the time.
The company’s vision of designer product at a contemporary price point opened up a once dormant market. As President and CEO of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Zhou has grown the business into a global fashion brand with womenswear, menswear, footwear, accessories and eyewear. She oversees over 100 employees and is one of the most respected leaders in the business.
Committed to the protection and development of the global artisan community, Zhou is proud to serve on the Board of Directors for the Nest organization.
Wen is presenting as part of the Festival’s Business Seminar.