Lil Uzi Vert, Whoopi Goldberg, and Alan Kim—yes, the cute kid from Minari—walk into a room. This isn’t the start of what would no doubt be an incredible joke; it’s just a Thursday afternoon in early October at Thom Browne’s flagship, in Lower Manhattan. That unlikely trio is joined by a handful of other wildly disparate luminaries: actors Lee Pace and Charles Melton, artists Amy Sherald and Anh Duong, and Portland rapper Aminé. All of them are draped in some variation of Browne’s meticulous gray flannel suiting—some in pants, some in shorts, some in kilts, Whoopi cocooned in a breathtaking floral cape. They’re all here as card-carrying members of the coolest clique in fashion right now: Team Thom Browne.
“I wear Thom Browne every day,” Uzi says, with a neon-lit space helmet—the trademark of his new pseudonym, AstroCat—cocked back on his head. “It makes me feel more than unique. It makes me feel complete. It makes me feel like no one else exists.” That’s a pretty significant statement from a man who owns more designer grails than there are lobsters in Maine, but it’s a sentiment that an ever-growing number of stars—across multiple fields and mediums—seem to share.
Twenty years into an already iconic career, Thom Browne has found himself the unlikely architect behind some of the most electric celebrity moments in recent fashion history. LeBron James bought Browne suits for the entire Cleveland Cavaliers roster in 2018. Cardi B won the 2019 Met gala in a labyrinthe feathered Browne concoction, and over a dozen (!) attendees of the 2021 edition—Erykah Badu, Evan Mock, Sharon Stone, and Pete Davidson (in a dress) among them—rolled through in staggering Thom Browne looks. Dan Levy racked up a quartet of Emmys in 2020 wearing a Thom Browne pleated kilt, and the designer was a force at this year’s Grammys (Phoebe Bridgers in a shimmering skeleton gown), Oscars (Alan Kim in a short tuxedo), and New York Fashion Week (Russell Westbrook in a flowy white skirt).
All of this star power is a relatively new look for Browne, and it’s lent a fresh dimension and energy to his work. For someone whose reputation was built on the precise and methodical manner with which he approaches every aspect of his life—from his fastidious tailoring to his clipped-razor haircut—there’s a fluid, expansive diversity to both the people Browne chooses to dress and the clothes he puts them in. “The most important thing is that they’re true individuals,” Browne says of his taste in ambassadors. “They’re really true to themselves, and they do something. We live in a world where some people are famous for not doing very much, which is not interesting to me at all. I like people to put the time in and be serious about what they do, and not care about what anybody else thinks.”