By Robert Bao
What do Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry, Eva Longoria and Kim Cattrall have in common—besides being members of the Hollywood elite? Also, add Christina Aguilera, Queen Latifah, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mariah Carey, Hillary Swank, Vanessa Williams, Carrie Underwood and all the Kardashians. Answer: They all wear dresses from the fashion house pamella roland. Just 10 years old, the label was created by Pamella (VanderLaan) Roland DeVos, ’84, whose designs are now sold by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and other leading retailers. “We design beautiful clothes made with beautiful fabrics that fit women’s bodies of all shapes and sizes,” explains DeVos, who commutes between homes in Grand Rapids and Chicago to New York City, where her business is centered. “I make beautiful clothes that provide a great fit and that women can actually wear,” she notes. A native of Grand Rapids, Pamella was raised in a Maize and Blue family. “Today we all bleed green,” she says, adding that her daughter Cassandra is a student at the MSU College of Law. At MSU, Pamella studied business and art history. “When everyone was at the football game, I was working at Kay Baum listening to the game,” she recalls. “I was always interested in clothes.” But after working in public relations in the U.S. and in Japan and raising three children, Pamella looked for a new challenge. She decided to rekindle her passion for clothes and art, and founded her fashion house. “The first five years were very difficult,” she says. “But I had a supportive family and many friends who encouraged me.” Today she pursues both business and art. She serves on the boards of both the Grand Rapids Art Museum and New York’s Whitney Museum. One recent line was inspired by artist Ellsworth Kelly. Her upcoming Fall 2013 collection was inspired by St. Petersburg, Russia, where she and her husband Dan recently visited. Her advice to young people? “Work hard, prove yourself, and follow your passion,” says Pamella.
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