Thom Browne is a New York based men's fashion designer. After graduating Notre Dame, Browne moved to Los Angeles to try his hand at acting. Though he landed a few commercials, he wasn't terribly successful. He realized his true calling was in fashion, and in 1997 moved to New York. His first job was as a salesman in Giorgio Armani's showroom; he moved to Club Monaco's design and merchandising departments before launching his own label in 2001.
Browne's designs are something of a throwback to a pre-business casual era: New York Magazine has described his work as evoking "a fetishized, black-and-white-movie masculinity." The Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded Browne 2006 Menswear Designer of the Year. Browne designs with a very specific impression in mind: "It's a very nice, very Continental, very charming world," he says.
Question: Who are you?
Thom Browne: My name is Thom Browne. And I am a designer. I’m originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Grew up in a large family – seven kids, seven of us. And a very . . . more conservative family. My parents were both attorneys. And actually I’m the only one in the family that’s not either an attorney or a doctor. So really being brought up by the type of parents that were always very nurturing in us wanting to do really what we want, or really wanted us to really experience everything and become . . . just become something. Growing up in a large family, it’s always . . . I mean it’s the whole family in a way, because . . . And I was the . . . the middle out of seven. So always trying to not compete with the rest of them, but always trying to be noticed. And my mother and father were both competitive people in a way, but my mother was the more competitive person in a way – always making us . . . even for little things like art contests . . . making us practice in order to, you know, make sure that we would . . . it would all kind of work out well.
Recorded on: 10/29/07