While talking about successful fashion brands, we need to talk about the designers that fashion those brands. They are the ones that ‘create’ fashion… traditional or radical.
And one of them is Marc Jacobs who’s been ruling the roost for quite some time now. He has passion, creativity and vision. Though he’s erratic, he’s energetic.
His motto: Let’s do what we love; and do a lot of it! That’s it: ‘do what we love’ and ‘do a lot of it’.
Bearing in mind that there is always something left out when we discuss this type of legends, let’s dig into some of the achievements and failures of this great creative designer.
For Marc, getting awards is not a big deal. ‘The Boy Wonder’, as he was called then, received his first award for designing while still at college, and the shower of awards never stopped; only marked with some brief pauses. He has won Council of Fashion Designers of America, CFDA, award seven times… for the best of this and the best of that and the best of the year awards.
This American Fashion Lord, along with his life-time collaborator, friend, colleague and partner, Robert Duffy, has an empire of 200 retail fashion outlets in about 80 countries with over a billion dollar sales.
His CV is not a simple one, either. He has worked for such establishments as Charivari; Parsons; Reuben Thomas Inc; Onward Kashiyama, USA; Perry Ellis; Look , a model agency in Japan; Diet Coke; and of course, Louis Vuitton & Sephora, a cosmetic company owned by Louis Vuitton’s mother ship LVMH, which are the world class establishments in Fashion World, and wherever he worked or with whomever he partnered, he left his distinct Mark. He’s wielded such strong influence that he is one of a very few designers who are allowed to continue designing and marketing their own products while still employed or contracted by standard companies.
The simple letters ‘Marc by Marc Jacobs’ and ‘Marc & Duffy’ are what is needed on any fashion articles for them to be taken away like hot cakes by the fashion lovers and Marc’s personal fans world over.
His fashion shows are a sensation. Media, starlets, models and fashion companies folk to his shows hoping to dip their fingers in the yummy pie, for no one is disappointed with him: he has crafted several top class models from mediocre figures; boosted starlets to stardom; sent some small fashion businesses to the national or international level; and given media some succulent ‘scoops’ that boosted its own ratings!
Marc is also known for establishing the ‘street wise aethetics’, a mix of preppie, grunge and couture that appealed to many young people. His budget friendly ‘Don’t Miss Marc’ collection, at $ 200 apiece, is for those who couldn’t afford MJ’s high-end market clothing items, yet would like to sport an MJ.
The height of Brand Image:
We all know that ‘book reading’ show-causes culture… reading a best seller is a hobby, discussing it is classy and carrying it around is trendy. This fashion wizard, however, has made ‘buying books’ a fashion. How?
Here we have a classic example of what a band name can do! When many bookstores around the world, including the top book selling chains Boarders and Barnes & Nobel, are closing down by the hundreds, the “Bookmarc” stores are opening at several places.
Bookmarc, as the name suggests is a book store with student budget friendly stationery items that bear the name Marc on them. Though this venture is the brain child of Robert Duffy, the ‘inseparable’ business partner of Marc, it’s the brand name ‘Marc’ that’s made it possible for the outlets to get the attention of the masses and the media. Marc, the fashion wizard, with a wave of his fashion staff, made book buying a fashion.
The Bookmarc trendy-looking outlets boast a variety of rare and classic collections… of books, along with several attractive stationery items and of course, the inevitable MJ brand fashion items, including a more essential item: MJ condom.
Business twined with Books:
A man’s business acumen is hard to hide…it shows up even when he’s dealing with literature. As a first step into publishing arena, Bookmarc is going to bring out a book, The Men + Women of Marc Jacobs, to stock up the Bookmarc shelves with copies of controversial Brain Bowen Smith’s photos showing pictures of Marc Jacobs’ sales associates. Why is it controversial, you might want to know? In Bowen Smith’s photos, the girls are naked and the boys are clothed! (Sorry, Duffy said the stark naked photos would be edited!)
The Fashion Mogul with a naked heart:
It’s surprising to learn that Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy have such a humane shade to their care-free and glamorous lifestyle that they are involved in 60 charities around the world.
His ongoing project ‘Protect the Skin You’re In’ for those unfortunate melanoma patients, those suffering from a kind of dangerous skin disease, he had top class models Kate Upton, Heidi Klum, Eva Mendes, Miles Cyrus, Victoria Beckham, Hilary Swank and the likes (including Marc and Robert themselves) pose naked for a T-shirt series whose sales go to the melanoma research facility at NYU Langone Medical Center.
This two-pack-a-day smoker is so concern about cancer that the sales of Bookmarc publishing venture, The Men + Women of Marc Jacobs, go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
The ‘Bad Boy’ Marc?:
Any living soul with such a hectic lifestyle as Marc’s is bound to be eccentric and wild. Being in the limelight for so long, surrounded by girls that are modelled to make men lose their heads and money that cascades in like the water of the Niagara Falls, Marc finds it hard to keep himself upright, if not righteous!
There is a talk taking rounds that this 32 tattoo-sporting celebrity spends as much time on psychiatrists’ couches as he does at his fashion studios. He has been to rehabs twice for drug addiction and excessive drinking, and, though he claims to be gay, even getting divorced from his husband recently, there are allegations of seducing his models. Angela Barta, a Hungarian model and ‘close’ friend of Marc, accused him of terrorising her and stealing her ideas and using them in his collections without giving credits to her. Rumours? Could be!
When it comes to his work, there are several accusations, too. He was fired by Perry Ellis, the first company that gave Marc and Robert a place at the stands, for the ‘grunge’ culture he introduced in one of their shows. In 2008, he was charged with plagiarising a scarf design created by the 1950’s Swedish designer Gosta Olofsson, and rumour had it that Marc settled the matter by paying a large sum to Olofsson’s son. There was some loud noise from some critics that a Marc’s coat design ‘closely’ resembled that of a coat by de la Renta designed some thirty years ago. Then in 2013, the New York Daily let the cat out by reporting that the ‘faux fur’, fake or artificial fur, used in Marc’s designs was actually the real fur of the racoon dogs farmed in China.
Well… as long as you believe the king has clothes, he has clothes. And very fashionable clothes at that. So, why dispute that?
He’s been making a Mark in the fashion world and showing strong passion for his job and subtle compassion for fellow humans. Furthermore, he and his buddy, Robert Duffy, make thousands fashionable with their collections!
So, it hardly matters if he’s a ‘bad boy’ or a ‘wonder boy’ so long as he makes boys and girls happy with his fashions!