Rick Owens and His Influence on Young Adults and Their Fashion Journeys



The fashion industry is forever evolving, inspiring a new generation of young teens and adults to express their individuality through the language of clothes. In the midst of the fashion industry, many people have shared their love for clothing by designing and creating new pieces that can influence a group of disciples for years to come. Rick Owens and Michèle Lamy are two influential figures who completely changed the fashion industry with their intricate designs and unique silhouettes whilst helping introduce many people, of all different backgrounds, to avant-garde fashion. The fashion industry continues to fluctuate in terms of what is and what is not popular due to the rapidity of trend cycles and the gentrification of fashion. Rick Owens has gained a lot of traction in recent years due to widespread popularity on social media such as TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest. This wide-spread popularity can be attributed to numerous celebrity endorsements and collaborations. I interviewed two Rick Owens enthusiasts: Bailey Anderes and Chase Walker comparing the influence Rick Owens has had on their respective fashion journeys. Walker, a 23 year old reseller from Detroit and Anderes, a 19 year old Fashion Student from New York, both have different journeys in finding their own route in the fashion industry, however they both share a common admiration for the brand. 

When did you first get into the brand Rick Owens?:

Walker: “When I was about 16-17 I saw Kanye wearing this Rick parka and ever since then it’s been on my radar.”

Anderes: “Around sophomore year. So about 4 years ago.”

What inspired you to get into fashion, specifically Rick Owens?:

Walker: “Back in 2016, I was in several online communities, mostly on Reddit and Kanyetothe. This is when we were coming out of the Yeezus era and I saw a lot of affluent people wearing Rick such as A$AP Rocky and Kanye. This era is when a lot of people were getting into Rick because of celebrities. It wasn’t until 2019 that I actually started buying Rick because I had started downsizing by selling my thrifted clothing on Instagram. Then, when COVID happened, I lost my job and used my stimulus checks to invest in my business, importing and dealing with designer goods, mostly Rick.” 

Anderes: “I think the dark, drape, and brutal style is super cool. Seeing my dad wear suits early on definitely made me want to look fashionable”.

Do you think the location of where you live affects your fashion sense?

Walker: “Detroit is a fashion desert. Short answer, yes”. 

Anderes: “Absolutely. I grew up in Wisconsin. And that’s honestly what pushed me into Instagram and websites, so I began seeing and reading about designers there.”

One thing about Rick is that it has such longevity because it’s the only brand in the public eye that is “dark wear adjacent”

Rick Owens has gained an insane amount of popularity in the recent months, why do you think that is and do you think gatekeeping the brand has aided its exclusivity? 

Walker: “Definitely has to do with the Converse and Birkenstock collab, Rappers like Gunna and Playboi Carti and Tyrone Dylan’s influence on the brand with Kiss Heels and the more glam look also have had a major influence. One thing about Rick is that it has such longevity because it’s the only brand in the public eye that is “dark wear adjacent”.

Anderes: “Yes. Gatekeeping Rick Owens definitely would allow them to be less popular, however with collaborations with Converse and Veja, they end up hitting a lower price tier bracket so it’s more accessible. Also gatekeeping Rick is still a thing, there are a lot of collectors who don’t like how popular it’s getting so they tend to stray away from giving out a lot of info”.

When a brand gets really popular in mainstream media and fashion, it is inevitable that fakes start to appear in the market more frequently. Have you ever bought any fakes?

Walker: I’ve bought so many fakes by accident. I think it’s weird if you wear it. Money is out there, there are very little things you cannot afford when it comes to clothes. If you have $200 but the piece you want is $500, just wait until your next paycheck. Counterfeiters don’t intend to fool the buyers, they are selling to a customer. If you really care about the piece, you’ll look diligently to make sure what you’re buying is real”. 

Anderes: “Unbeknownst to me yes, I also was on Canal Street and got a fake Prada hat cause it was funny”. 

Do you think the price tag of some of Rick Owens pieces are worth it? In terms of quality and honing your personal style?

Walker: “Short answer: yes, value is a complicated concept. I can buy a Gildan shirt from Walmart and as soon as I walk out the door the value depreciates, however I can buy a piece and as time goes by I can get back the money I paid, or more, if I resell it”. 

Anderes: “Retail? No. Resell? Definitely not. You have to be patient to find a good deal nowadays. I used to have a lot of Rick Owens. I collected a lot from SS02 and I was able to pick it up for pretty cheap a few years ago. Now, not so much”. 

Rick Owens has created such a big community that truly brings people in the fashion world together. There’s a private discord, accessed only by invite, that allows enthusiasts to have an open discussion with other archivists and devotees to the brand where one is able to chat, share their newest pieces, and oftentimes sell to each other. Owens, a bi-sexual man, has also used the brand as a way to blur the lines of gender steryotypes (creating the famous “KISS Heels” that many hetoro-sexual men are now wearing). I asked Walker if he thought Owens himself has had an influence in breaking these gender norms:

Walker: “Yes but not really. A lot of men who are wearing Kiss heels are some of the most homophobic and bigoted people, but they dont even realize the meaning behind the piece. You cannot look at these muses Rick has and not think this isn’t a little queer. Some people are just so close-minded and blinded by their own delusion that they’ll wear anything hype even if they don’t support it. Rick operates in such a peculiar space, being a designer endorsed by rappers and hype while simultaneously androgyny and femininity”.

Anderes and Walker are both different in age, style and location, however they both share one thing in common and that is their self expression through fashion and their work. Walker a reseller and Anderes a writer both hone their experiences in the fashion industry to continue utilizing their craft in order to evolve.

As fashion keeps evolving, Owen’s brand will too, and currently he is in the midst of releasing another collaboration with Converse. As Anderes said, people are still gatekeeping Rick Owens, but with his continuation of collaborations and releases that appeal to the masses, the brand seems as if it will continue to be a staple on social media and in everyone’s wardrobe.

Rick operates in such a peculiar space, being a designer endorsed by rappers and hype while simultaneously androgyny and femininity