Fashion

American Designer Todd Oldham Has Done It All

From his lasting influence on the fashion world, having authored several books, and having graced television screens across the country, his creative spirit has never known bounds.
Reading time 4 minutes

Photography by Jeiroh

Between the years of 1989 and 1998, Todd Oldham made clothes that were loud. These garments spoke for themselves and weren’t willing to shy away from the limelight, but in addition to his in-your-face aesthetic, the designs remained intricate, sophisticated, and beautiful. Oldham wasn’t just a master in the construction of clothes, though. Along with his decade-long stint as a fashion designer, Oldham also conceived a furniture line with La-Z Boy, designed The Hotel of South Beach in Miami, Florida, and made books such as Queer Threads and Hand Made Modern before embarking on even more successful careers—in both interior design and photography. And one cannot help but mention his appearances on popular American television programs like House of Style and Fashionably Loud, the show he hosted on MTV in 1999.

Born in Texas, Oldham began designing at the age of fifteen, stitching pillowcases together to create garments. His only formal training in fashion construction was assisting in alterations at Polo Ralph Lauren in Dallas, Texas. He went on to create his first collection out of 41 yards of white cotton jersey that he dyed himself, which he ended up selling to Neiman Marcus all before moving to New York City in 1998. Within his first year of living there, Oldham presented his first full collection on the runway. He is the perfect representation of New York City and fits the description of a true New Yorker. The city caters itself to individuals who aren’t afraid to multitask, experiment and push themselves, and the designer’s own life journey certainly makes him one of those individuals.

Along with the numerous projects under his belt, Oldham also has amassed an array of accomplishments and awards. The multihyphenate received the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Perry Ellis award for New Fashion Talent in 1991. In 2016, Oldham held a retrospective exhibition in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design, “All of Everything: Todd Oldham Fashion.” He has been working closely with the school for years and often employs their graduates at his Manhattan studio. The university even awarded him with an honorary doctorate degree, is there anything the man can’t do? He also has been collaborating with the talented comedian Amy Sedaris since the early 2000s; the duo now works together on the truTV show, At Home with Amy Sedaris.

Having lived here now for over 20 years, Oldham steadfastly told L’Officiel USA that he would never leave New York, as it is “still the only option.” To him, no place is as vital as NYC. His favorite year living here was 1988, right before his fashion days took off. It was the year that he moved to the city, looking at it as the most important time for the East Village. He remembers Ellen Berkenblit’s work on display at Semaphore East in Tompkins Square Park and the pot dealers on 9th Street. His first apartment was on 2nd Avenue and 11th Street, living with the late flamboyant fashion executive, John Badum. While he believes he’s checked off every task on his New York bucket list, Oldham still views the city as the best place on earth and considers himself a true New Yorker at heart. He’s one of the select few that fits the bill.

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Credits

Hair: Carolyn Riley @ De Facto Inc using Kerastase

Makeup: Andie Markoe-Byrne @ Bryan Bantry using Chanel

Photo Director: Jennifer Rosenblum 

Production Assistant: Mina Erkli 

Location: Root Studios

Catering: Red Hook Catering

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