Day 4 in Black Fashion History highlights a social media superstar designs as sharp as his cheek bones who completely transformed an aging French fashion house, and turned it into a premier high streetwear brand.
The French fashion house has been a premier clothier for 72 years and a staple in the industry.
After the death of its founder Pierre Balmain in 1982, the brand was curated first by designers Oscar de la Renta and Christophe Decarnin. After the departure of Decarnin in 2011, the brand was looking for a fresh and new direction to bring it into the 21st century.
They turned their attention to an emerging young designer who had been climbing the ladder and wowing the company with his designs.
But who exactly is the man behind one of the most popular fashion houses in the world? At just 25, Olivier Rousteing became one of the youngest designers to take over a major fashion label. He’s also the first and only black man to ever run the brand, making him one of the even fewer minorities in the industry to do so. In the 7 years since he took over as Creative Director, Balmain has become a leader in designer and high streetwear. Rousteing is responsible for bringing the French powerhouse to the masses through ready-to-wear collaborations and celebrity endorsements.
His fresh take on design and infusion of multicultural influences has made him a highly sought after designer. Rappers name drop Balmain in their verses and Rousteing's clothes are coveted by high powered fashion connoisseurs, hypebeasts and streetkatz alike.
But the man himself has become a star in his own
right. Rousteing boasts over 1 million followers on Instagram and a sick contact list packed with A-list stars: Beyoncé, A$AP Rocky, Kanye & Kim K, Kendall Jenner, the Hadid sisters & Nicki Minaj to name a few. His also thrust Balmain into the international spotlight through clever use of social media. Their account has garnered over 7 million followers and growing since joining.
Rousteing credits his background and upbringing for his success and outlook on life. He was given up for adoption as an infant and raised by parents who gave him endless love and instilled in him a strong work ethic. In an interview with BBC news, he stated “Fashion helped me define who I am and who I want to be. It’s my past that makes me so strong.” Now at age 32, Rousteing is just scratching the surface.