Thom Browne’s path to becoming a designer would make a pretty interesting movie. The Allentown, Pennsylvania native was a competitive swimmer at Notre Dame University. After graduating from the school of business in 1988, Brown moved to Hollywood with dreams of becoming an actor and eventually landed a few commercials. It was during this time he found himself a roommate in Johnson Hartig, the designer who would later start the clothing brand Libertine. Inspired by his roommate’s experiments with vintage clothing, Browne began to modify his own clothing. What started off as Browne just trying something new—including putting his old suits in the dryer—would become the exact thing that made him a success.
The results of his suit shrinking process produced interesting results. Browne was now determined to make it in the fashion industry, so much so that he sold his car and moved to New York in the late ’90s. He found himself working at Armani as a clerk, eventually making it to the wholesale side of the business. In 1999, he left Armani to become a designer at Club Monaco, where he would stay until setting out on his own in 2001.
Thom Browne started out as a made-to-measure business, crafting the shrunken suits he began toying with in Hollywood. In a time where the baggy style of the ’90s still loomed and Saint Laurent skinny was just hitting the runway, Browne was quietly making noise with his proposed third option. In 2004, Browne debuted his first ready-to-wear collection and was finally ready to bring his business casual look to the masses.
After a couple of strong shows, Browne truly broke through in 2006. For his Fall/Winter show that year, Browne showed his designs by outfitting two indie bands—My Best Friend and Soft—as they competed in a battle of the bands at Bergdorf Goodman. 2006 was also the first year that Browne would win the CFDA’s Menswear Designer of the Year award (he would win again in 2013 and 2016).
The Thom Browne look is one that has many rules as the designer revels in the idea of an “everyday uniform.” This uniform typically involves the following: a gray or navy suit with skinny lapels and ankle length pants with large cuffs, oxford shirts with long collar points and either black leather dress shoes or ankle-high lace up boots. For over 15 years, this look has defined the brand and caught the attention and endorsement of celebrities including LeBron James. In recent years, Browne has expanded his collection to include what was once fondly referred to as “athleisure,” including hoodies, crewneck sweaters and sweatpants bearing his signature 4 Bar mark.
Thom Browne will be forever known for his impact on the men’s suit. By making what was seen as dull garment men were forced to keep in their wardrobes, into an experimental piece of fashion men wanted to wear, Browne made the once-stuffy suit unpretentious. Despite his other creations, this alone cements Browne as a groundbreaking pillar of American fashion.
What is Thom Browne known for?
Thom Browne is known for men’s suiting.
How old is Thom Browne?
Thom Browne was born in 1965.
Who owns Thom Browne?
The Ermenegildo Zegna group owns 85 percent of the company, while Thom Browne himself owns the rest.