How a Fashion Icon Found his Life Purpose at Age 40

Finding your genius – that special something you do very, very well – can take time.

Look at Giorgio Armani, who started the Italian fashion brand named after him in 1975 — when he was 40 years old. Back then, he “was just another middle-aged man” wondering if the best days of his life were behind him, writes Michael Hainey in this piece.

Armani started as a window dresser at a department store in Milan. He became the store’s menswear buyer, then moved on to work as a designer for Nino Cerruti.

At the time, his significant other was Sergio Galeotti. It was Galeotti who recognized Armani’s potential and persuaded him to sell his Volkswagen Beetle for money to open his own business. They started small, with Galeotti (now deceased) running the books and Armani handling the creative.

Today, Armani is in his 80s and has a personal fortune that Forbes calculates to be worth more than $7 billion. Not bad for a guy who didn’t start his business until he was 40.

“Your forties are the moment when you start to become aware,” he tells “It’s just the beginning. I’ve always believed that to confirm your way of thinking takes time. It takes experimenting. You have to confront different chapters of your life.”

When asked about the reasons behind his success, Armani says he doesn’t have a special formula. “I always did it my own way. Even today I hold my independence close. It’s what’s most precious to me. Passion. Risk. Tenacity. Consistency. This is my professional history.”

And then there’s this: “I always had a burning ambition to realize my potential,” says Armani. Many of us can relate to that feeling.

Like Armani, it may take you awhile to realize your potential and discover that special something that defines your business. Keep probing.


About Lynne Strang

I'm a freelance writer who helps organizations and individuals meet their marketing and communications goals. I am also the author of "Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs: Eight Principles for Starting a Business After Age 40." To learn more, please visit my website:
This entry was posted in Business, entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Retirement, Success and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to How a Fashion Icon Found his Life Purpose at Age 40

  1. I had no idea. Such an inspiring story. I’m sure there is a whole lot more to learn from him and about him.

  2. Hi Lynne Strang,
    It’s a really impressive post and I really love to read and follow you. Keep posting and writing…

  3. Really enjoyed the post. Coming from a 40+ who is finding his passion right now, I found this post to be very inspirational.

  4. Carol says:

    “I always had a burning ambition to realize my potential” – I love this! Important and so true. Even if you put it aside, it always comes back. Been there.

  5. I must say, I am 28 and still finding my Genius. This blog indeed is inspiring as one at my age gets desperate/disappointed. Thanks for the nice piece.

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