Industry publication Business of Fashion recently sat down with designer Thom Browne for a lengthy discussion of his personal approach to style, founding a major menswear concern from a modest start and what the future holds for him. Below we have an excerpt of the interview, but for the full piece head over to Business of Fashion.
““I just knew I needed to stay in business. I’m stubborn, but I’m not foolish,” designer Thom Browne told BoF of his brand’s conceptual-meets-commercial balancing act. “Fashion is a business. As conceptual as you want to be, you do have to make sure that you approach it as a business. There has to be a commercial element to what you do.”
Browne understands both sides of the coin.
On the one hand, he is a showman whose fashion show theatrics have involved models tied down to beds and emerging from coffins. For a particularly memorable Spring 2013 menswear show, set in a Paris garden, silver minotaurs presaged a parade of men dressed like life-sized Slinkies. For his womenswear debut for Autumn/Winter 2011, staged at the New York Public Library, models wearing twisted versions of a nun’s habit were disrobed by male models dressed like priests.
Browne estimates that he sells 80 to 90 percent of his show pieces. But in seeming paradox, the designer, whose hair is shorn with military precision, is best known for his restrained 1950s- and 1960s-inspired, shrunken grey suits — short in both arm and leg — as well as his highly wearable blazers, shirts and knitwear, emblazoned with the subtle tricolour stripe which has become his signature.”