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13 World Famous Designers Everyone Knows by Name but Would Hardly Recognize on the Street

Not all famous fashion designers are public people. Perhaps most of us have heard their names and even wear clothes with their famous label. However, few of us can imagine what Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger look like.

We at Bright Side found photos of the people hiding behind the names of labels from expensive boutiques. We totally admit that it was even hard for us to distinguish these famous designers from ordinary people on the street.

1. Marc Jacobs, age 59

At the age of 23, with the support of sponsors, Jacobs designed his first collection with the label Marc Jacobs. At the age of 24, he was recognized as the youngest designer who has ever gotten a prestigious award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

2. Christian Louboutin, age 59

Since he was young, Christian had been creating women’s footwear for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Maud Frizon as a freelance designer. At the age of 27, he decided to establish his own company and opened a store. Soon after that, he started to make shoes for royals and Hollywood celebrities, while his famous red sole became one of the most recognizable fashion trends in the world.

3. Michael Kors, age 62

As a teenager, Kors started to design clothes and sell them from his parents’ basement. At the age of 17, he entered the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City but he dropped out after 9 months and started to work in a fashion boutique. 4 years later, he started his own label of women’s wear in the same store.

4. Tommy Hilfiger, age 71

At the age of 20, Hilfiger opened his own clothing store but he went bankrupt after 5 years. After that, he has moved to New York where he worked for several labels. By the age of 28, he created his own clothing design company called “Tommy Hill.” 6 years later, with the help of sponsors, he established the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation, which soon became one of the most famous clothing brands in the world.

5. Christian Lacroix, age 70

Initially, Christian was planning to become a museum curator. At the age of 22, he moved to Paris where he started to study Art History at Sorbonne, as well as at the École du Louvre. However, soon after that, his affinity for clothing design awoke a bigger passion. And by the age of 24, he had already established his own haute couture house.

6. Miuccia Prada, age 72

The youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada started to run their family business designing luxury items when she was 29. However, in her youth, she had dreamed of becoming a mime in the Teatro Piccolo. She had even been performing there for several years. At the age of 40, she designed and released her first women’s collection. 5 years later, she released a men’s collection as well. In 2014, Miuccia Prada was included on the list of the most influential women according to Forbes.

7. Jimmy Choo, age 73

Choo designed his first pair of footwear when he was 11. He moved from Malaysia to Great Britain to study at Cordwainers Technical College in London. After graduating, Choo started to work at a design company and soon after he opened his own shoe shop. His skills and designs were soon noticed at London Fashion Week, after which he became world famous.

8. Yohji Yamamoto, age 78

Yamamoto refused a promising career as a lawyer in order to help his mother with her sewing business where he perfected his tailoring skills. After that, he decided to study design at a fashion college. Yamamoto debuted his collection in Paris in 1981 and got world famous almost instantly.

9. Calvin Klein, age 79

Calvin used to work in various fashion houses in New York in his youth. He also worked as a street artist from time to time. At the age of 26, he established the “Calvin Klein Inc.” company together with his friend Barry K. Schwartz in New York. Initially, the company specialized in menswear, but later he included womenswear in his production line too.

10. Manolo Blahnik, age 79

Manolo’s career started at the age of 28 in London where he started to write a column about footwear in Vogue magazine. One year later, he decided to open a footwear boutique with his own label. At the age of 32, Blahnik became the second man in history who has ever appeared on the cover of Vogue. His shoes were called the fifth character on the Sex and the City series (after the 4 main heroines).

11. Roberto Cavalli, age 81

Roberto studied weaving techniques on a manual loom that soon fascinated him. He decided to drop out from his studies and open his own textile printing business, that started to slowly become more famous. At the age of 32, Cavalli successfully released his first collection at the Salon for Prêt-à-Porter in Paris. Soon after that, he opened his fashion boutique in Saint-Tropez and started his namesake clothing collection.

12. Luciano Benetton, age 86

Luciano’s father had a small business, but after his death the 14-year-old boy had to drop out of school and start working at a clothing store. Soon he saved enough money to buy a knitting machine and created his first collection of colorful sweaters that had commercial success. At the age of 30, Luciano together with his sister Giuliana and 2 brothers Carlo and Gilberto established Benetton Group.

13. Paco Rabanne, age 88

Paco started his career in the fashion world by designing jewelry for Givenchy, Dior, and Balenciaga. At the age of 32, Rabanne presented his first collection made of paper, plastic, and metal in Paris. It drew the attention of the world press. By the age of 34, he had established his own fashion house.

If you could become a world famous designer, would you have a namesake label or would you come up with something original? We would be glad to hear from you in the comments!

Please note: This article was updated in May 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
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