Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hostedby jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. For the Season 8 finale, Jeff had the honor of reviving our Stay @ Home series with none other than Olivier Rousteing of Balmain.
Creative director, designer, artist, businessman and auteur, Olivier Rousteing is a fashion wunderkind, and it all started when the French designer sky-rocketed to stardom after becoming creative director of luxury fashion house Balmain at 25 years young.
Although adapted by a seaport manager and optician in Bordeaux at the age of one, the now 34-year-old designer didn’t spend his childhood fixated on science, biology or the natural world, but he instead found solace in the arts. Pursing his childhood interests, Rousteing later attended the acclaimed ESMOD (Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode) school and began working as a designer for Roberto Cavalli, where he climbed the ranks to become head of the womenswear division. In 2009, he left Cavalli for Balmain and worked closely with the brand’s creative director at the time, Christophe Decarnin, where he was later appointed as Decarnin’s successor in 2011, making him the second-youngest designer to helm a major fashion house since Yves Saint Laurent. For nearly a decade, Rousteing revolutionized the brand, successfully transitioning Balmain into the digital age while still adhering to its iconic roots. Olivier stresses that his role is more than being creative, but it also involves an incredible amount of numbers and strategy.
“When you’re disconnected to the world, you’re losing yourself. I think to be connected to the world you need to actually known your business as well. When you’re creative director u need to know the business—what you’re selling, what you’re not selling.”
Olivier’s refined style and progressive approach to Balmain has allowed the two, designer and house, the freedom to work with top tier clients from brands like H&M and Puma, to a star-studded clientele that includes Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Beyonce and JAY-Z. His vision has even amassed a cult-like following on social media, coining the term Balmain Army. What’s more is that in recent years, Balmain has stepped into the sneakerhead scene indicating his foray into a more progressive streetwear space. As Olivier says, streetwear is not just a trend, but a “mentality.”
The designer is constantly pushing the boundaries, even amid the changing times: be it luxury brands colliding with streetwear, a greater push towards sustainability or facing a worldwide pandemic head on; Rousteing embraces what’s to come.
“I’m less scared of what is going to be tomorrow. It’s a revolution that will bring a better future.”
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