In a technology-driven world and an increasingly digital marketplace, the story behind our products becomes shorter and shorter. Most of us have no idea how our products were developed, where they were made, and what hands they passed through before arriving on our doorstep. For creatively driven fields like fashion, the connections between creator and consumer have become increasingly tenuous. There’s a missed opportunity in the lack of storytelling in fashion, a missed connection that could otherwise bring people together and add joy and excitement to life.
Have you ever wondered who designed your favorite items?= Here’s a list of 31 designers, creatives, and entrepreneurs behind some of the most iconic brands and fashion items on the market today:
Pelletier and Nickless are the brains behind Nike’s brilliant Ben & Jerry’s collaboration. Pelletier serves as a Senior Product Line Manager Nike while his coworker Nickless is a Footwear Designer at the revolutionary brand.
Haitian American fashion designer Jean-Raymond founded menswear label Pyer Moss in 2013. The brand recently collaborated with Reebok to create a line of footwear and streetwear that has since sold out.
Smith is the co-creator Yeezy but is a significant mastermind in the fashion industry. He has designed for iconic shoe brands, including New Balance, Reebok, Nike, and Adidas.
Wotherspoon is the creator of Nike’s perhaps most in-demand Air Max shoes, the 1/97 SW. He is now designing an upcoming release for Adidas.
While not well-known outside of the industry, Nigo is one of the most influential minds in fashion. He is a Japanese designer, producer, and entrepreneur who has collaborated with Pharrell Williams and founded his own brand Bape. He currently serves as the Creative Director for Uniqlo.
Williams is a music icon but has also ventured into the fashion industry several times throughout his career. He founded Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream footwear in collaboration with legendary designer Nigo.
Abloh is currently the CEO of Milan-based brand Off-White, but he also serves as the artistic director of menswear for Louis Vuitton. As a trained architect, artist, DJ, and entrepreneur, Abloh has made a significant impact on creative industries since his start at Fendi in 2009.
Ross is the former protege of Abloh. He is the designer and founder behind A-Cold-Wall, which carries luxury fashion products from all over the world in addition to its in-house designs.
Lorenzo founded his label in 2012 with no experience or exposure in the fashion world and has since become a major player in the industry. He has a loyal celebrity fanbase, which includes Kendall Jenner, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber.
Don C transitioned into fashion after a high-powered career as Kanye West’s agent. He founded his brand, Just Don, and is a Nike and Converse collaborator.
11. BRAND: NEW BALANCE // DESIGNER: JOE GRONDIN
Grondin is the Global Collaboration Manager at New Balance. He is the voice behind many of New Balance’s collaborations, namely their most recent project, Casablanca 327.
12. BRAND: NOAH // DESIGNER: BRENDON BABEZIEN
Babezien is the creator and founder of Soho-based men’s clothing brand Noah. The company donates 1% of its annual sales to grassroots environmental organizations.
Suleiman, Osei, and Trabsini are the thinkers and founders of Amsterdam-based clothing brand, Daily Paper. It was established in 2012 and continues to be inspired by the co-founders’ African roots.
Trapstar is a London-based brand founded by designers, Mike, Lee, and Will (who aim to stay relatively anonymous). The brand’s identity is closely intertwined with trap music, and the co-founders’ shared British roots.
Hekmat is the sole creator of luxury brand Cult Gaia, which produces unique womenswear. The LA-based brand is famous not only for its clothing but also for its signature Ark handbag.
Union Los Angeles has been a major player in the fashion industry since 1989. Gibbs is one of the original founding members of the label and has guided Union Los Angeles through decades of fashion changes and evolutions. He most recently led the brand’s collaboration with Nordstrom.
Tyler the Creator created Golf Wang in 2011, a fashion brand that has its roots in his music lyrics. The label sells colorful clothing, accessories, and footwear.
Adepoju founded New York-based innovative footwear brand Fini Shoes in 2018. Adepoju designed a modular, customizable shoe that comes with six different attachments, which allow it to transition seamlessly into dozens of different settings and uses. Since its launch in 2018, the brand has disrupted the shoe industry with its versatility and functionality. Dami Adepoju is also the creative Strategist for Paris-based Herve Leger upcoming accessories Line.
Sachs is an American sculptor who has gained traction and international attention for both his fine art and fashion work. He collaborated with Nike on their NikeCraft Mars Yard designs.
In addition to his own brand, Kith, Fieg has designed for and collaborated with countless major brands. With his roots in footwear, Fieg has since completed dozens of various collaborative projects in conjunction with giants in the fashion industry, including Adidas, New Balance, Asics, Clarks, and Converse.
Joe is a designer and creative director from the west side of Chicago. His streetwear brand, Joe Fresh Goods, has collaborated with brands like AT&T, McDonald’s, the Chicago Bears, and New Balance.
22. BRAND: ADIDAS // DESIGNER: EBRU ERCON
Ercon is a British fashion designer who has recently joined Adidas’s ranks as a senior design director. Her designs permeate mainstream fashion and culture every day.
Cherman was born in New York City and returned in 2009 to eventually create the brand, The Chinatown Market. The label plays off of classic New York City imagery and motifs.
While Bembury has his own brand, he is well-known as the Vice President of Sneakers and Men’s Footwear at Versace. Before taking on his current role, you might have seen Bembury’s work under brand names like Cole Haan and Yeezy.
Patta is the brainchild of designer Edson Sabajo. The Dutch fashion brand launched its first clothing line in 2010 and has since put chic, versatile everyday staples into the marketplace.
Philibert founded his footwear and streetwear brand in 2009 while studying architecture in Amsterdam. At its core, the brand is about bridging the gap between high-end fashion and quality streetwear.
Young Lord, otherwise known as ASAP Bari, is known for co-founding a rap collective called A$AP Mob but has since developed a clothing brand known as Vlone. Since its start in 2011, the streetwear brand has collaborated with Nike.
Villaseñor is the man behind the luxury LA-based brand Rhude. His work brings narrative, personal experience, and historical, political subtexts to the mainstream fashion market.
Scotch is a visionary accessories designer that has worked with big-name brands, including GAP, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, and Mark Cross. She is currently working alongside Dami Adepoju to design Paris-based Herve Leger’s upcoming accessories Line.
While Scott is known for his Grammy-nominated musical work, he collaborated with Nike and released the Cactus Jack collection.
Kim Jones currently serves as the Creative Director for Dior Men’s, but he’s been an active designer in the fashion industry since 2003. Throughout his career, he’s worked for iconic brands including Hugo Boss, Topman, Umbro, Alfred Dunhill, and Louis Vuitton.
Fashion is one of the most creative, influential, and forward-thinking industries of our economy, and we’re all about reinforcing the ties and connections between designers and mainstream consumers. Who are your favorite fashion designers? What looks are inspiring you? Share some names and faces you think are missing from the list.