Rochelle Gores Fredston

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 “Growing up, my dad always taught me to work hard and when I figure out what it is that I want to do, when I find something that I love, I should do it and try to be the best I can be at it,” Gores Fredston said.

Growing up in Michigan, Rochelle Gores Fredston’s private school had a strict dress code. Yet even as a child, she was determined to show off her personal sense of style.

“I used to wear socks with ruffles and red patent leather shoes because I had to make sure that how I dressed [represented] how I felt,” she said. She also remembers wearing her grandmother’s vintage shoes and jewelry, which to her, were dress-up clothes. At the time, vintage clothing wasn’t very popular, but Gores Fredston was clearly onto something.

As she got older, Gores Fredston would organize her friends’ closets and dress them for events. As a college student at Western Michigan University, she majored in Business and Textile and Apparel Merchandising. It was the first time she realized she could take a passion and turn it into a career.

After interning in the design department of fashion label YA-YA and the licensing department of Rampage, Gores Fredston began to understand the multi-faceted aspects of the fashion business. Upon graduating college, she sought out Scoop, the top fashion boutique in New York City. Starting out in sales with no experience, Gores Fredston’s talent soon became apparent as she worked her way up to merchandiser at only 22 years old.

It was time for her to take on the business world on her own terms.

“I was starting to venture out on my own and I felt like there was an opportunity in fashion for me in Los Angeles,” she said. “I saw a real need for boutiques that had something different, had great price points, offered different designers to people and customer service.”

So in 2008, Gores Fredston moved to the West Coast where the idea for a Melrose Avenue high-end gem evolved. Inspired by 19th century European shopping malls called arcades – where multiple designers gathered to show their collections – Gores Fredston’s boutique, aptly named Arcade Boutique, would do just that.

“I wanted a [store] where people could come and feel like they’re walking into their [own] closet, a place where everyone knows you,” she said, “Even if it’s your first time walking in you feel like you’re at home. A lot of stores did the bohemian contemporary look wonderfully, but I felt like no one tapped into that sexy, sophisticated, classy look.”

It’s no wonder Gores Fredston found success in the business world. Her father Alec Gores is the founder of the Gores Group, a successful private equity firm that has acquired 80 companies across the globe – worth more than $15 billion collectively. The Gores Group also has $4 billion in equity under active management, with haute couture fashion house J. Mendel as one of their most recent acquisitions.

“Growing up, my dad always taught me to work hard and when I figure out what it is that I want to do, when I find something that I love, I should do it and try to be the best I can be at it,” Gores Fredston said.

Today on Melrose Avenue, one of Los Angeles’s most prestigious fashion destinations, Arcade Boutique is a favorite of Hollywood’s top celebrities and stylists. These fashion heavyweights have come to depend on Gores Fredston and her staff for style advice. Gores Fredston even tried her hand at design, which proved to be another successful venture. In 2010, she launched the Arcade Private Label line and the store’s online boutique.

”It’s been really exciting because when I’m buying for the store, I know what my customer is asking for that designers aren’t offering so I can do that for my own label,” she said.

As the store’s status continues to grow, Gores Fredston spreads her talent and experience even further. She has taken on an important role for the Gores Group in which she advises the group on fashion industry investments. She also sits on the board of directors for J. Mendel and Big Strike, Inc. with Gores Group top executives.

Although Gores Fredston is best known for the glitz and glam that she has brought to Los Angeles, she hasn’t stopped there. In the spring, she founded Philanthropic Society Los Angeles (PSLA,) a group of young, forward-thinking business professionals who raise funds and awareness for The Children’s Institute, which focuses on helping children and mothers who are victims of domestic abuse.

“What I loved about this charity in particular is that it doesn’t just help them out of the situation; it educates them as to how to be better, stronger mothers and fathers,” Fredston said. “It urges these parents to read to their children, help them with education and really aid the next generation in being better.”

But that isn’t Gores Fredston’s only foray into philanthropy. In the fall, she is planning a charity fashion show at Arcade hosted by PSLA and her family.

With a child of her own on the way, success in several major business ventures and a multitude of philanthropic endeavors, it’s hard not to wonder how she does it all.

But to Gores Fredston, it’s simple.

“Find something you love to do, work really hard and be the best at whatever that is. It makes work a lot more fun.”

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