The Top 12 Rick Owens Quotes From His FN Cover Story

Rick Owens knows how to give a sound bite. In his exclusive interview with Footwear News, the designer sounded off on his sneaker obsession, buzzy runway shows and enigmatic wife, Michèle Lamy. Below are the 12 best quotes from the story.

On tackling footwear design:
“Like I’ve done with everything in my life, you fake it until it comes true. I actually used to mold rubber soles myself, because at the time I couldn’t afford the minimums. The construction was completely wrong.”

On practicality:
“I like things that function and that are logical. The commercial side is one of my favorite parts. I mean, no one would ever assume that.”

FN Cover 06/27/2016
Rick Owens on the cover of the June 27, 2016, issue of FN.
CREDIT: Danielle Levitt.

On designing sneakers:
“Sports shoes were never my thing. The only reason I started making them was because they frustrated me. They were a little too prosaic. I wanted to exoticize them.”

On his wife, Michèle Lamy:
“Michèle is very spontaneous, and her emotions are a lot more on the surface. When we work together, it’s impossible. She has such a freestyle way of getting things done that it makes me crazy. She respects me for some kind of stability, but also reacts against my straightness.”

rick owens adidas sneaker
A fall ’16 Rick Owens x Adidas men’s style.
CREDIT: Courtesy Image.

On shock value:
“I don’t think it’s possible to really shock anybody anymore, although I’m surprised sometimes. I don’t want to waste people’s time. It’s a busy calendar, so if you’re going to do a show, do a show.”

On the growing athleisure movement:
“Working out has become this generation’s version of couture. It’s time consuming, it’s rare and it’s specialized. You have to go in for fittings. You have to train and train and train. I see people complaining about the age of elegance, when your clothes were custom-made to fit you — well, they were made to fit you because people’s bodies weren’t as good.”

Rick Owens fall 2016
Rick Owens works on a fall ’16 look from his Mastodon collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy Image.

On the importance of editing:
“All through my 20s, all I wore was the same pair of biker boots. That’s how I’ve always been with clothes. I’ve never been somebody who likes a full closet. I like a closet with five things, and that’s it for five years. But I’ve always thought shoes and hair are the most important things. They define who you are. And teeth. Teeth have to be good.”

On his restless work ethic:
“Even in the middle of a party, all I can think about is cleaning up. I can’t enjoy the moment. I always think there’s a dark side, an undertone that’s going to ruin everything.”

On his fall ’16 Mastodon shows:
“I wanted things to look like they were degenerating and evaporating on the runway. I was also thinking of dinosaurs, and it made me think of exaggerated, weird shapes.”

rick owens fall 2016
Rick Owens fall ’16 Mastodon women’s collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy Image.

On his own sneaker obsession:
“It’s all I wear. I can’t even consider wearing leather shoes because it doesn’t seem contemporary. It became a safe way of expressing virility for men. They are the one item in your outfit that any man can go out there with. There can be colors, there can be perforations, there can be confections. It’s kind of like a men’s cravat from the 19th century — the way you tied it, it could be sumptuous.”

On his cease-and-desist letter from Nike:
“I was just flattered to death. I swooned.”

On owning his business:
“There was a minute where I considered selling out, because I was offered a lot of money that I wasn’t sure I would ever be offered again. But looking back, it would have killed me. I can’t really work with other people. I would hate to have to explain myself to anybody. I don’t have a design team because that’s what I get to do — that’s my fun.”

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