Rick Owens On His Knack For Shock Value, Love Of Sneakers & Restless Work Ethic

Rick Owens — our Footwear News cover subject this week — doesn’t hold back. The designer got candid on a wide range of topics, from his booming sneaker business to his buzzy runway shows. While the full story is ready for reading here, we’re highlighting a few soundbites that didn’t quite make the cut.

Below are six standout quotes from our interview.

On his love of sneakers:
“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.”

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

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 knack for shock value:
“I’m not trying to do things purely out of shock. I’m always trying to do things that send a positive message about inclusivity and tolerance, about considering emotional moments that are beautiful. I feel like I’m fulfilling a personal moral responsibility by putting things out there that are genuinely beautiful. But it’s not for everybody.”

FN Cover 06/27/2016
Rick Owens on the cover of FN’s 06/27/16 cover.
CREDIT: Danielle Levitt.

On the fast-moving industry:
“Designers are moving in and out of houses so fast. They’re now being considered as very disposable. People who genuinely love and believe in what they’re doing just stick their nose to the grindstone. That never fails, that kind of authentic devotion to craft — that’s what’s going to survive.”

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.”

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.”

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

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