Almost everything about the upbringing and early career of Richard Saturnino Owens, today known worldwide as Rick Owens, was unusual. He was born in 1962 in Porterville, California to a middle class family. Owens was not allowed to watch TV until he was 16 years old and until then, entertained himself with classical music and literature. Upon graduating from the local Catholic school, which he did not enjoy, he moved to Los Angeles to study fine arts at Otis College. Owens realized the school was too expensive for him to afford and he didn’t see his fine arts education leading to a career, so he dropped out, enrolled in Los Angeles Trade Technical College and learned the art of pattern making. Upon finishing school, he spent years working for companies that produced knockoffs of designer clothing.
While many simply think of Michèle Lamy as Rick Owens romantic partner, she plays an essential role in Owens professional life as well. Lamy moved from France to L.A. in the 1970s and in 1996 opened a restaurant, Les Deux Cafés, that became one of the coolest spots in town. She founded the brand Lamy and gave Owens his first job as a designer there. Before long, the two moved in together and Owens began working on his own line. In 1994, Owens began exclusively selling his eponymous label to Charles Gallay’s eponymous boutique. Gallay’s store was one of the premiere spots in L.A. for avant-garde fashion, becoming the first in the city to carry Margiela, Mugler and Versace. Gallay would pay for half of Owens collections up front so the designer could afford to start work on his following collection.
Owens continued to work through the ’90s when a pivotal moment came in the form of French Vogue’s publishing of a picture of Kate Moss wearing one of his signature leather jackets. This snowballed into Anna Wintour catching wind of Owens’ work, becoming so impressed that she arranged for Vogue to sponsor Owens’ first show at New York Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2002.
2002 was also the year Owens branched out into menswear. His Spring/Summer 2003 collection introduced what would later become signatures of the brand, such as bomber jackets and predecessors to what would later become the Pod Short. While his clothing was in demand, Owens’ footwear was becoming an increasingly significant part of the business. The “Dustulator” Dunk—named after the Spring/Summer 2006 collection it was part of—marked the beginning of a line of highly coveted Rick Owens sneakers. The high top shoes bared a resemblance to Nike’s Dunk sneaker and, when a lawsuit was on the horizon, changes were made to the silhouette, resulting in the Geobasket. The Geobasket remains a highly covetable sneaker in its own right, while older models—still referred to in some circles as “Dunks”—remain cult favorites. In Owens’ Spring/Summer 2008 collection, he revealed another one of his most iconic designs, the Creatch Cargo Pant. The pants' oversized cargo pockets and slight drop crotch make it an instantly recognizable piece that introduced many to Rick Owens and the pants remain classic to fans of the brand.
Fans of Rick Owens often wear his clothing head-to-toe, and dress almost exclusively in his designs. He continues to push boundaries with his collections and runway shows and after almost 30 years, it’s clear that Rick Owens L.A. goth-meets-refined Parisian style is here to stay.
What is Rick Owens known for?
Rick Owens is a designer known for making clothing mostly in black, grey and white that drapes the body, simultaneously loose and tight. He is also known for his luxury sneakers, including the Geobasket sneaker.
Where is Rick Owens made?
Rick Owens is made in Bologna, Italy.
How old is Rick Owens?
Rick Owens was born on November 18, 1962.