“Inspiration comes from everywhere,” says Thom Browne. “From films, music, even walking down the street.” It’s his own personal journey of life that has set him on his current career path, and now as the New York-based fashion designer is a long way from his home city of Allentown, Pennsylvania, his creativity shines through via his eponymous label.
After a degree in economics and an attempt in the acting circuit of LA – if he wasn’t a fashion designer Browne says a film director would be his gig - Browne moved to the Big Apple to take up a job as a sales representative in Giorgio Armani’s showroom. It was here he was head-hunted by Polo Ralph Lauren brand Club Monaco and worked alongside Lauren for a number of years before launching his own label.
Browne began his business with just five suits and a small by-appointment-only shop in 2001. He introduced his ready-to-wear collection in 2003. His traditionally based hand-made suits have evolved into collections recognised by museums around the world including the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Fashion Museum in Bath. Browne’s innovations in tailoring have been identified with impacting the paradigm of men’s and women’s fashion.
Known for his signature stripes and cropped tailored pants, Browne’s brilliant eye has earned him celebrity following and whilst his sharp tailoring often references the early-60s, his innovative design and craftsmanship keeps him well and truly moving forward into the 21st Century. His aesthetic and theatrical presentations – along with his eccentric take on the classic men’s suit – has earned him worldwide recognition both from the industry and his devoted consumers.
“Australian Merino wool has been supportive of my work since way back, and since I have always used wool suiting fabrics it was a natural journey to partner with Woolmark,” he says regarding his forthcoming collaboration with The Woolmark Company.
“I’ve always mostly worked with wool; for me, each piece I create is special in its own way.” And with such a strong passion for this natural fibre, Browne is also breaking misconceptions that wool is only suitable for cold conditions. “I don’t always think of seasons or climates when I’m designing. Concepts always come first."
For Browne, his daily motto is to just be true to yourself. And perhaps it’s this humble advice that has seen him flourish into an acclaimed menswear and womenswear designer who has been twice honoured by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, awarded the GQ Designer of the Year as well as the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award.