Thom Browne on Overcoming Designers' Block

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.

  • Transcript


Question: How do you get past designers’ block?

Thom Browne: So you know never say never; but in a way it’s the type of thing that when I finish a collection, I always think, “God how am I going to top this one? How am I gonna . . . What am I gonna do?” I do at the end of seasons think, you know, “What if? What am I gonna do?” Because at the . . . When I finish a collection, I always look back and I think, “This is something . . .” It almost evolves in a way that becomes better than I even thought of at the beginning. So yeah. There is that little bit at the beginning of each season; but in a way it just kind of . . . it does kind of happen. You know at the end of the day you’re having a drink and . . . And my . . . The guys that work with me – and girls – you know it’s a joke that there’s a lot of design ideas that are on cocktail napkins which is . . . (Chuckles) Which, you know . . . But it happens at times that, you know, I never plan on.


Recorded on: 10/29/07