How I Started…21 – Rick Owens

By On April 25, 2012 In Editor's picks, Fashion, How I started

Born in California in 1961, Rick Owens has always had an alternative eye for design. While most designers of his stature completed a formal design education at a top design school, Owens only attended The Otis College of Art and Design for two years before leaving the school. Owens learned how to create patterns and drape masterfully during courses he attended at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College after leaving Otis.

In the professional trade of design, Owens surprisingly started off in knockoff design houses in Los Angeles and tried his hand in sportswear as well. This sportswear influence can be seen in his lines still, with hints of the genre throughout, especially in his footwear collections.

In 1994 at the age of 33, Owens started his own self-titled line, initially being bought by LA retailer Charles Gallay. Owens continued to work with Gallay until Barneys picked up his line in 1999. This led to him quickly being recognized by fashion moguls around the world. In 2002, Anna Wintour and Vogue Magazine, who later featured him in a spread by Annie Leibovitz, sponsored his first New York Fashion Week show, thus adding even further to his success.

2002 was an important year for Rick Owens, gaining the recognition of many important names after seeing him in New York Fashion Week.  This recognition resulted in Owens being awarded a Perry Ellis Award for Emerging Talent from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.  Along with all his recognition and shows in 2002, Owens then accepted the position of Artistic Director at the French fur house, Revillon.

In 2007, Owens was given the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award and the Fashion Group International Rule Breaking Award.  Since his break in the industry, Owens has been designing collections full of black fabric draped and hemmed in interesting ways. His style could be described as a sort of post-apocalyptic glamour, blending the style of excellent craftsmanship with random edges and cuts.

Rick Owens now lives and works from Paris, and sells his collection across the globe.  He has stores in New York, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong and Seoul selling his Rick Owens line as well as his more affordable RickOwensLillies and denim line DRKSHDW.

© Rick Owens, Craig McDean for Interview

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