I have a lot of heroes in the fashion world. From those who constantly break the rules and challenge convention to the grafters who produce clever, useful design, there are too many great figures to name here. But when it comes to an inspiration, a role model, and a personal brand built from the ground up, I am always in awe of Marc Jacobs.
In his fifty-three years he has shown aspiring fashionistas like myself that with the right combination of talent and hard work, it is possible to build a global empire that is still going from strength to strength. Jacobs didn’t have anything handed to him, either. He had a tough upbringing, losing his father at age seven and being taken in by his grandfather when his mentally ill mother could no longer care for her kids. But he knew what he wanted to do, and his fashion career started at the bottom. Aged just fifteen, he went to work as a stock boy in a New York boutique, Charivari. Such ambition. I didn’t have a clue at that age!
But the most inspiring thing about Jacobs for me is much more than his beautiful designs. Despite his huge success, he actually cares about real issues. His 2009 shirt design supporting gay marriage and the ongoing ‘protect the skin you’re in’ campaign that benefits cancer research, shows that despite working with icons like Kanye West and Richard Prince, global fame hasn’t turned his head. We should all hope to be so grounded when success comes knocking for us.