St. C. native inducted into Kent State Fashion School Hall of Fame
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A former St. Clairsville resident recently was honored as the 2018 inductee into the Kent State University Fashion School Hall of Fame.
Molly (McClain) Langenstein, daughter of Jack and Judy McClain, was described by J.R. Campbell, fashion school director, as “an exceptional leader in the industry who exemplifies the spirit of our best alumni.”
The former Belmont County resident, who is a 1981 graduate of St. Clairsville High School and a 1985 KSU graduate, joins other inductees such as Estee Lauder, Oscar de la Renta and Leonardo Ferragmao.
Honored in the Hall of Fame, which began in 1989, are notable fashion designers and business icons, Campbell said.
After past honorees were mentioned, Langenstein thanked Kent State for the honor, adding it is “deeply humbling, to be amongst this unbelievable group of people that have won this award, for a small town girl from St. Clairsville, Ohio. I never could have even dreamed this could be a reality.”
Employed by Macy’s for 32-plus years, she was named general business manager for Macy’s Ready to Wear, a new role in the organization, in September of last year. In this post, she is responsible for national brands, private brands, planning and digital integration.
Now based in New York City, she has served in a wide variety of roles for Macy’s and previously worked in Miami, Minneapolis and San Francisco.
Langenstein has been married for almost as many years as she has worked for Macy’s. She has co-chaired the American Heart Associationás Go Red for Women New York City luncheon since 2010 and was one of 25 women recognized in Leaders Magazine.
Going down “memory lane” in her talk, Langenstein showed a slide of a story in The Times Leader in the 1980s when she entered KSU and met Jerry Silverman and Shannon Rogers, who provided their collections and $5 million for establishing the fashion museum and school. She had considered attending a fashion institute in New York, but said at that time, “When I found out that I could get the same things so close to home, I was excited.”
Another slide was of a feature by Gladys Van Horne in the Wheeling News-Register when the former St. Clairsville resident studied at the Paris Fashion Institute during her junior year in college
Langenstein also said, âGrowing up in Ohio in my mother’s specialty shop (Laura’s), I knew retail was always for me.”
The honoree praised KSU’s fashion school for ranking among the top four in the United States, noting that is “quite an accomplishment.” She also mentioned how “family and college really help you out and support you not only when you have times of need but when you need that little push.”
In addition to telling about Kent State providing a foundation for her in various ways, Langenstein again thanked KSU for the honor and noted her parents, Jack and Judy, as well as others were at the ceremony.
Pointing out that her mother had operated a boutique in St. Clairsville for 30 years, Langenstein added, “She showed me early on about humility, perseverance and also how to delight women and how to make them feel empowered by what they put on.”
Before assuming her present post, she served as chief private brands officer of Macy’s from 2015-17, responsible for the organization that concepts, designs, sources and markets Macy’s portfolio of highly successful private brands of apparel, accessories and home goods.
Prior to that role, she was executive vice president for men’s and kids at Macy’s Private Brands where she led cross-functional collaborative efforts to execute strategy and drive business.
Langenstein previously was Macy’s executive vice president for fashion and new business development and general merchandise manager for categories appealing to customers in the millennial generation. Her career also has included assignments as general merchandise manager for men’s and kids at Macy’s Florida, for millennial at Macy’s West in San Francisco and for ready-to-wear at Macy’s North, Minneapolis, since joining Miami-based Burdines in 1985. She also served briefly as merchandising executive at May D&F.