From humble grunge beginnings to renowned design powerhouse, Marc Jacobs is one of the quintessential American designers of the 21st century. A native New Yorker, Jacobs was born on April 9, 1963, but quickly had part of his childhood taken because of the death of his father. His mother was mentally ill and unable to properly take care of children, so he was then put in the custody of his grandparents.
With the loving support from his grandmother, he quickly fell into the world of fashion and graduated from the High School of Art and Design, then moved on to the prestigious Parson’s School of design in New York. While he was a student there he received some of the highest honors: the Perry Ellis Golden Thimble Award and the Chester Weinberg Gold Thimble Award, largely in due to his collection of sweaters which his grandmother had hand knitted.
Marc Jacobs soon met Robert Duffy, then became business partners, forming Jacobs Duffy Designs Inc. The two then teamed up with Perry Ellis, where Jacobs debuted his take on the Seattle grunge look on the runway, a move which garnered him praise from the fashion world, but little in terms of commercial success. He ended up getting the boot from Ellis, even though the same year he also received the Women’s Designer of the Year Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
In 1993, Jacobs Duffy Designs Inc. released their own design and licensing company, Marc Jacobs International Company, L.P. Marc’s comeback line included famous celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista who worked for free in support of his efforts. Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy are still business partners to this day.
Flash forward to 1997, Marc Jacobs is made creative director of Louis Vuitton, re-inspiring the iconic luggage brand into a new era of fashion-forward design, and making the LV monogram a much sought after item. Marc had the Midas touch with Louis Vuitton, which eventually led him to create his secondary, slightly more affordable line Marc by Marc Jacobs preceding a slew of fragrances. In 2013, Marc was made the creative director at Diet Coke, in an effort to make the soda more “fun” and “lighthearted.”
Marc Jacobs is one of the most prominent designers out there right now, his public persona has garnered him almost as much attention as his clothing. From being outspoken about gay marriage and equality (Jacobs is himself openly homosexual) to his social life–he has made himself synonymous with cool.