Remember Me This Way: Industry Trailblazers Share How They Want To Be Remembered

If we had control over the memories that endure after we’re gone, how would we like to be remembered? Preserved in turns of phrase, prolific trailblazers commit their legacies to paper
Photo by Fairchild Archive/Penske Media via Getty Images

If “I think, therefore I am” is to be believed, then what should be made of what gets left behind after being?  What happens to those who dedicate their lives to creating a legacy through tangible reminders of their existence?  Ahead, 21 prolific and pioneering figures across fashion, beauty, culture, literature, social justice and science muse on this singular line of thought: What do you want to be remembered for?”

Tommy Hilfiger

Photo by Fairchild Archive/Penske Media via Getty Images

American fashion designer and founder of his eponymous label 

“I would like to be remembered for being philanthropic and building a brand that has great morals and values.”

François Nars

French makeup artist, creative director and president of NARS Cosmetics

“Probably that I helped women feel good. In a very simple way, that I, that [my brand and I], provided something for people to feel better and empowered. I think if I was remembered for that, that would be huge. All around the world, if women felt good because of me and my work, that’s a great legacy to leave. I don’t need another one.”

Ian Griffiths

Photo: Instagram / @ian_griffiths1

British fashion designer and creative director of Italian heritage luxuriate, Max Mara

“I would like to be remembered as a designer who joined the Max Mara story and added something to the Max Mara heritage. I hope that I will be remembered as a thoughtful designer who didn’t just plunder the past and use the archive just as a source of new ideas but actually fed back into it, too, and left it richer, hopefully by enriching the story in the Max Mara narrative. I hope that I will be remembered for developing the Max Mara philosophy and making that story stronger.”

Gherardo Felloni

Photo: Instagram / @gherardofelloni

Italian creative director of exceptional French footwear and accessories maison, Roger Vivier

“I would like to be remembered for my work and for it to be appreciated for its simple and open approach to beauty and creation. One of the things that would bring me the most pleasure would be for future designers to see my creations and understand how inspiration can be drawn in a lighthearted way from the simplest things, without any fear or snobbism.”

Christopher Esber

 Founder and creative director of the internationally-lauded, deconstructed ready-to-wear label

“I want to be remembered for the cultural imprint the brand continues to have globally and the memories our customers make in their Christopher Esber pieces.” 

Ditte Reffstrup

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Creative director of Copenhagen’s definitive cool-girl label, GANNI

“I’d like to be remembered for creating a more friendly and responsible approach to fashion. A place where people feel welcome and their most confident selves. But also a brand that is known for always doing better for the environment and the planet.” 

Isamaya Ffrench 

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British makeup artist and founder of disruptive, avant-garde beauty brand ISAMAYA

“Why? Do you know something I don’t? I think I’d like to be remembered for being fearless. It has allowed me to explore unknown things without holding back both in my personal and professional lives.”

Fran Lebowitz

Writer, satirist and New York’s most acerbic resident

“I do not care. I don’t understand why anyone cares about this. People who worry about their legacy or think about it are people who do not understand what dead means. To me, asking these kinds of questions is like asking me, ‘What would you like to have for dinner the night after you die?’”

Charlotte Tilbury, MBE 

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Leading makeup artist and founder of the eponymous cosmetics company Charlotte Tilbury Beauty.

“Darlings, inspiring a magic of confidence in people that unlocks their potential and empowers them and changes lives…that’s what I would love to be remembered for. My mission has always been to democratise makeup and skincare so that everyone, everywhere, can look and feel like their most beautiful and confident selves.”

Dr. Jane Goodall, DME

English primatologist and anthropologist, pioneer of primatological research, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace.

“In this ninth decade of my life, I am often asked what I’d like to be remembered for! In thinking over the last 64 years of my working life, I believe that through my global environmental programme, Roots & Shoots, thousands of young people around the world have become empowered to undertake hands-on projects to make the world a better place for their communities, animals and the environment. They are taking those values into their adult working and family lives and are truly making a difference. The Jane Goodall Institute has introduced community-led programmes in Africa that have allowed those communities to flourish and live healthier, happier and more sustainable lives. It is so gratifying to see that Roots & Shoots has now spread to some 66 countries and last year we reached 1.47 million young people across 12,000 projects! There is still so much left to do but at least I made a start.”

Shiza Shahid

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Photo: Instagram / @shiza

Pakistani co-founder of modern cookware line Our Place, social entrepreneur and former CEO of the Malala Yousef-founded not-for-profit, Malala Fund 

“My father didn’t have a family name passed down to him. He was descended from farmers in Punjab, who had little use for one. When he had to register a last name for his children, he simply put his first name, Shahid. Shahid translates to “the one who bears witness to the truth”. This bearing of witness is not a passive act, but a profoundly active one. It requires showing up at a time of deep importance, becoming a critical part of a movement for justice, and then coming back to share the story so others can be inspired to join. It requires the courage to speak the truth, when it’s risky and unsafe to do so. That’s what I’ve tried to do in my life—show up for what I believe is right, and share stories that bring the world closer together. Whether co-founding the Malala Fund to help the most vulnerable girls around the world access education. Or starting Our Place, a kitchenware business rooted in the power of sharing a home-cooked meal. So what do I hope my legacy will be? I simply hope it lives up to my humble last name.”

Bianca Spender

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Photo: Instagram / @biancaspender

Australian fashion designer, founder and creative director of the self-titled responsible womenswear label

“As a designer, the impact I can make on fashion is something I think about a lot. For me, it’s very much about championing a sustainable, design-led vision and bringing people together to support each other in creating this journey. Being an independent brand is very tough but equally important for our cultural landscape. There is a creative ecosystem that I want to nurture, from connecting to elements of music and dance to film and photography.”

Raul Lopez

Dominican-born, NYC-raised designer and founder of the subversive, community-oriented fashion label, Luar

“For being premium trash. Converging the trash, the glamour, aggression, sex appeal and allure of all of the different worlds that I navigate into one place.”


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Brooklyn-­based makeup artist, influencer and founder of French-girl makeup brand Violette_FR

“This is probably one of the last things I would think about. Only because it’s not really about me. My goal, in this lifetime, is to inspire others to build healthy relationships with themselves. I want them to accept their ‘worst’ version of themselves while simultaneously learning to celebrate and have fun with themselves. I try to practice this in my own little way through beauty, which impacts everything else. In addition to this, I hope people will share the same love I have for colour. I hope I can inspire them to learn about different shades and to be more playful. Together,  we can ignore the trends and rules displayed by the industry.”

Rebecca F. Kaung

New York Times best-selling novelist and author behind the recent literary-fiction, ‘Yellowface’.

“I’d actually like to be remembered for my correspondence. My literary heroes left behind enormous volumes of correspondence, and I’m struck by how much care they put into articulating their thoughts and feelings when, to their knowledge, their audience was a single person. I’ve tried to commit to producing long-form correspondence in the style of Sylvia Plath.”

Anna Plunkett & Luke Sales

Co-founders and creative directors of visionary artisan-led Australian fashion house, Romance Was Born

“We don’t feel like we are veterans in the industry. There is still so much we haven’t explored with the brand or been able to develop. When we start to work on a collection there is still very much a child-like response to our work as we make decisions based on our intuition, coming from more of an emotional point of view. We believe we are Australia’s leading art brand, and our cultural contribution to the industry and our customers is very meaningful to us and keeps us creating.”

Christian Cowan

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Photo: Instagram / @christiancowan

London-raised, New York-based designer of his titular sensual fashion label 

“I think being remembered is overrated, I’m happy for people to forget, but I hope my clothes keep popping up in people’s wardrobes and lives. I hope every time they see that piece in their closet it gives them joy, I hope every time they wear it they feel a bit happier, a bit more confident, a bit more fabulous.”

Rejina Pyo

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South Korean-born, London-based fashion designer of her nominative fashion and lifestyle label

“I hope to be remembered for fearlessly pursuing my passions and staying true to myself.”

Marco Tomasetta

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Artistic director of luxury leather goods and writing instrument maison, Montblanc

“I would like to be remembered for my unfaltering search for the beauty that comes from order. Always finding order and creating purity in my creations. Just like a Bernini statue— harmony, purity and beauty.”

Professor Augustinus Bader

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Biomedical scientist, physician and co-founder of clinically-led skincare brand, Augustinus Bader

“Creating a consumer skincare product wasn’t something I had previously imagined. With the help of the brand’s co-founder, Charles Rosier, we applied my medical background and knowledge of cellular renewal to create a new generation of especially efficacious consumer skincare products. The reaction to the products received by early users was inspiring— they were thrilled as their skin became healthier and stronger, and I could see how happy it made them. And for me, this took on a deeper meaning. It is gratifying to see how many people have benefited from our skincare.”

Lee Mathews 

Fashion designer of her eponymous artisanal-inspired whimsical  womenswear label

‘To simply have made good things.”


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