Follow the incredible journey of Japanese designer Kenzō Takada, from ambitious student to creator of a the luxury Parisian fashion house.
Born in The USA | Our Top 4 American Designers
The USA is home to New York, one of the 'big four' fashion capitals of the world. In honour of Independence Day on 4th July, we've highlighted some of our top four American designers, all of whom had a heavy influence on not just American fashion but the world, and to this day remain relevant and widely appreciated.
Bavarian-born Levi Strauss moved to NYC at the age of 18 to work for his brothers’ textiles business. In 1854 he relocated to San Francisco to open his own branch of wholesaler, where the gold rush increased miners' demand for heavy-duty workwear so he hired tailors to make durable clothing from tent canvas. Trousers were subsequently constructed from denim reinforced with copper rivets, with a patent granted in 1873, to create the blue jean as we know it. These jeans are what the original 501 style is based on and the blue jean lives on as a staple in people’s wardrobes all over the world.
Ralph Lauren is synonymous with a high-end American lifestyle. In 1968 Lauren launched a line named Polo, influenced by his love of sports. Ralph Lauren was one of the most prominent designers of the time, leading the preppy fashion trend of the '80s and '90s. He drew inspiration from polo, sailing, and rugby to create a unique brand of elite but casual sportswear, popular all over the world. Not only did the fashion house become heavily associated with aspirational Ivy League fashion, but it’s also been embedded in hip-hop culture since being embraced by the scene in 1980s New York.
In 1968, NYC-born Calvin Klein launched a line of minimal and sleek womenswear, achieving his first Vogue cover only a year later. He became known for his signature pared-back designs in muted colourways and his incorporation of sportswear. Klein gained notoriety for the versatility he instilled in his collections, creating fashion-forward, tennis-inspired designs that could be worn both on and off the court. Calvin Klein has gone through various iterations, from tailored to more relaxed, but the designer has always stayed true to their signature clean aesthetic.
Donna Karan launched her label, Donna Karan New York, in 1985 with a line called Seven Easy Pieces, featuring several modern garments specifically designed to be adaptable and styled in multiple different ways. New York was included in the name to signify the attitude of the designs, reflecting the pace of a big city. The designs were acclaimed for their versatility and, compared to women’s fashion at the time, featured many androgynous styles with a relaxed silhouette. Later, Karan launched DKNY, a more affordable line that exploded in popularity. Although Karan stepped down in 2015, the pace, simplicity, and modernity of the designs remain relevant today.
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