From the launch of his business in 2001, Browne has wanted to design attire that would reinvigorate interest in tailored clothing for men, especially young men who have never worn suits. It has never been his desire to challenge convention and conformity, despite the fact that his work is sometimes interpreted as an affront to tradition.
While elements in Browne’s work are classic, he has upended the menswear vernacular by re-contextualizing such basics as knitwear. His version of the American football uniform, seen here, not only has a dramatically altered silhouette but also is rendered in the instantly recognizable cableknit pattern.
Thom Browne started his ready-to-wear and made-to-measure menswear business with an all American clientele. He went on to design the Black Fleece line for the venerated Ivy style firm, Brooks Brothers.
However, Browne’s most ardent admirers may well be the Japanese. His own look—the shrunken gray flannel suit, button-down shirt, and tie, worn with wingtip shoes—has been described as perfectly "Japanese." While the superbly stylish Japanese have a demonstrated devotion to classic American menswear, they also possess an experimental spirit that is closely aligned with that of Thom Browne.
While some designers are taking a trip down memory lane, Thom Browne consistently shakes off the staid qualities of the past. Browne has won over the high fashion cognoscenti, in particular those who are steeped in the high drama of performance art-style fashion shows and wildly thematic clothes.
Yet Browne has not achieved a parallel degree of acceptance in the world of "real" menswear. Ivy style purists especially have rejected Browne’s wickedly tongue-in-cheek reconstruction and re-contextualization of the classic male clothing armory.