Elie Tahari

Tahari is an Israeli-American fashion designer, known in part for his assertion that it's impossible to sell expensive clothes to New Jersey residents because they have "no idea about fashion."

Born in Jerusalem in 1952, he spent his childhood moving back and forth between Israel and Iran (his parents are Persian Jews). After his parents divorce, he lived briefly in an orphanage and later spent time living on a kibbutz. Tahari later attended an Israeli Airfoce boarding school.

When he came to New York in 1971, Tahari worked as an electrician, sleeping variously at the YMCA or in Central Park. He eventually got himself a retail job at a women's boutique and began designing clothing. In 1974, he opened his own boutique on Madison Avenue. In the 1980s, he began to incorporate men's fashions into his lines. In 2003, Tahari sold all his shares and is no longer involved the company.

[Image via Getty]