Thom Browne on Growing up in an Ultra-American Family and Finding Authenticity in Fashion

I have to say, I feel so lucky that I am part of this community. I feel like I’ve been exposed to so much more in life and so many more interesting people. I am where I am right now because of who I am, and I feel incredibly lucky and fortunate to have had the experience that I’ve had over the years, whether here in New York or in Los Angeles. I think our industry is very open and inclusive, and is accepting and encouraging in regards to being true to yourself.

I’ve always wanted to design for everyone. I think one of the most important things within my collections is the idea of ​​people finding themselves. I’ve always encouraged that, and I’ve always designed with that in mind, so it’s really important to me.

I think the way I have approached gender over the years has definitely evolved. I didn’t really think that shift through so much, it just happened. But I did have a spring collection in Paris, where I put men in what are stereotypically women’s clothes. At the beginning, I wanted to make sure I was showing something interesting for men, something that wasn’t as classically thought out, and that would challenge men to think differently about the way they dress. And then, over the years, with my women’s collections, I’ve been trying to do the same—in particular, to make tailoring more interesting, in a way that was inspired by menswear, but made women feel really comfortable in that world as well. But as the world—and I—have evolved over the years, I almost don’t design for men and women anymore, I just design for different collections. I think that’s a much more interesting and relevant way of working.

I think it’s just about being true to yourself, approaching fashion in your own way, and surrounding yourself with people who feel the same way. The most important thing is that it’s authentic, and that it never feels forced. We live in the most amazing world that accepts so much about people just being themselves and I think really, you know, it has to just start from that place of being truly authentic to yourself.