Rick Owens on Being an Artist & a Cult Designer

“I decided to be a fashion designer, because that was frivolous and easy.”

Fashion
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In a recent talk, designer Rick Owens displayed his lighter side highlighting a disconnect between the man and the fashion designer. To many Rick Owens fans the label represents a fashion subculture that celebrates and revels in the avant-garde with the label’s head serving as its stoic leader, but behind the aesthetic California-born and raised Rick Owens isn’t exactly what his label stands for. In the talk, Rick Owens opens up about his early dreams of becoming an artist and the idea of being a cult designer. Check out an excerpt from the piece below and read it in its entirety here.

He smiles, but thankfully doesn’t stop talking. Owens is 55, and was born in Porterville, Calif., a small city in the San Joaquin Valley. He moved to Los Angeles after graduating high school, originally studying fine art at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, then dropping out after two years. “I wanted to be an artist at the beginning,” he says. “But then I didn’t think I had it in me. I didn’t think I had the intellectual stamina for it, so I decided to be a fashion designer, because that was frivolous and easy.” Owens smiles wider. He is, again, deflating the myth that has grown around him. He doesn’t take himself as seriously as his work would lead people to believe. Unlike many fashion designers, however, Owens is able to articulate, precisely and vividly, what he’s trying to do with his clothes, namely talk about those big, overarching themes affecting humanity, and offer something different in the fashion landscape. When he talks, he makes you take him seriously. And he likes to talk.

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