Avant-garde instigator Rick Owens sat down with The Business of Fashion to discuss his recently-opened retrospective, “Subhuman Inhuman Superhuman.” In a talk with Tim Blanks, the designer discusses the exhibit, his personal misgivings and future plans.
Blanks talks motivation with Owens, who states that “I feel a moral obligation to leave good energy behind. As long as you’re here, you gotta do your best. When I look at all those clothes and think of all that waste and how much this industry is responsible for polluting, I console myself with the fact that the world needs beauty.” It’s this personal vision of beauty that fuels the designer, whose style has avoided the typical trends and tastes of fashion since his label’s inception.
Owens’ brand exists outside of the realm of traditional fashion, with his unique blend of unconventional designs and iconic sneakers earning the label a legion of fans that ensure the brand’s continuing success outside of the traditional realms of fashion. On that note, Owens remarks, “Relevance is a smaller window than it used to be. I love how sharp fashion is getting, how cruel and hard. Fashion is about codes that you’re flashing like gang codes, and the codes are getting more obscure.”
The retrospective, brutalist and off-kilter, is indicative of his own brand’s aggressively independent styling and rejection of the typical codes in fashion. When it comes to the future relevance of the Rick Owens brand, and what the designer wishes to be remembered for, he responds: “Lurid, depraved kindness. That’s what I’m teaching the kids. And I get the feeling that’s what they’re responding to.”