Stephen Sprouse 1953–2004

Stephen Sprouse was a pioneering fashion designer and artist, responsible for bringing a “downtown,” pop sensibility to luxury fashion. Sprouse’s unique vision, both retro and futuristic, a meeting of high and low influences, came to define the look of New York City in the 1980s and continues to inspire designers today.

Sprouse was born in Ohio and raised in Columbus, Indiana. His family recognized his interest in fashion from a young age and supported his artistic talents; his father, who was in the Air Force, would take him to New York City in the summers to meet with fashion designers and see current collections. When he was 12, his father showed his portfolio to a friend at the Art Institute of Chicago, leading to an introduction to fashion designer Normal Norell and, later, Bill Blass (a fellow Indianan), who hired Sprouse as a summer intern when he was 14.

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