The celebrated career of fashion designer Marc Jacobs had humble beginnings; at 15, Jacobs worked as a stock boy for Charivari, an upscale clothing boutique in New York City. Not long after, Jacobs enrolled at the Parsons School of Design, where young Jacobs flourished as both a design student and budding designer. It was at Parsons where he designed and then sold his first line of hand knit sweaters to Rueben Thomas Inc. under the Sketchbook label. In 1984, Jacobs joined young executive Robert Duffy in forming Jacob Duffy Designs. A couple of years later, Jacobs designed his first collection under the Marc Jacobs label, backed by Onward Kashiyama USA, Inc.
In 1987, the prodigious young designer was awarded the highest honor of the fashion industry: The Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Perry Ellis Award. Jacobs was the youngest recipient of this prestigious award. A year later, business partners Jacobs and Duffy joined Perry Ellis Women as vice president and president of the company following the founder’s death. Though Jacobs was recognized for his work at Perry Ellis, receiving the Council of Fashion Designers of America Women’s Designer of the Year award in 1992, that same year he was terminated from the company after releasing a “grunge” collection for women. It was then that the founders of Jacobs Duffy Designs, Inc. began their own licensing and design company in 1993, calling it the Marc Jacobs International Company, L.P. A year later, Jacobs released his first full line of menswear.
Jacobs joined the Louis Vuitton Company as creative director in 1997, and was responsible for creating the company’s first ready-to-wear line. During his time at Louis Vuitton, Jacobs worked with dozens of notable artists when creating collections for the company; he collaborated with such artists as Takashi Murakami, Stephen Sprouse, Richard Prince and Kanye West.
Jacobs launched his secondary line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, in 2001. By 2005, the Jacobs name saw further success when the Look modeling agency held the license in Japan for Marc by Marc Jacobs ready-to-wear collection, resulting in a €50 million retail value. Jacobs built on this success by expanding his business, adding a line of body-splash fragrances in 2006. These increasingly popular fragrances, distributed by Coty, first began their circulation in perfume boutiques before their wider distribution in more recent years.
With the notoriety of Jacobs’ brand making increasingly making him a household name, filmmaker Loïc Prigent responded by making a documentary film about him in 2007; the film was entitled Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton. After 16 years as Louis Vuitton’s creative director, Jacobs left the company in 2013 to focus on his own line.
In 2014, Jacobs asked acclaimed actress Jessica Lange to be the face of the Marc Jacobs Beauty line. Lange was photographed by fashion photographer David Sims for the Jacobs summer and fall print ad. Jacobs himself would also direct the actress in a short campaign video for the brand. Earlier that year, Jacobs had dressed Lange for Love Magazine’s fifth anniversary issue. During the shoot, Jacobs interviewed the iconic actress, who provided Jacobs with a spoken-word version of the song “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Jacobs used the recording as mood music for his autumn/winter show in 2014. In more recent years, Jacobs has used the revolutionary method of casting models through the use of social media for his show’s ad campaigns. This approach was used successfully for both the Marc by Marc Jacobs Autumn/Winter 2014 and the Spring/Summer 2015 campaigns.
The international success of the Marc Jacobs label can be seen by the over 285 stores found in 60 countries, including a new flagship store in Shanghai. Not only famous for clothes, the company is also known for its line of accessories, which include the famous Marc Jacobs “Stam” bag as well as Marc by Marc Jacobs handbags and wallets.