you have to Be willing to dedicate your liFe to this. and then you have to Be extreMely lucky on top oF that.Robert Geller
Robert Geller’s greatest achievement in fashion occurred on the edge of disaster. In 2008, the principle financier for his then newly minted eponymous menswear line went out of business overnight. “We were able to secure a new partner within weeks,” the 36-year-old designer recalls. “That showed me I am not where I am because I was lucky enough to get a partner. I am where I am because of what we do—and our talent.” Geller roared back to win the GQ/CFDA Best New Menswear Designer in America in 2009, as well as the CFDA’s Swarovski award for Menswear Design in 2011. A native of Hamburg, Germany, Geller studied Fashion Design at the Rhode Island School of Design and worked for four seasons at Marc Jacobs, but his real education came from Cloak, a goth-y, fashion-forward NYC label he ran with Alexandre Plokhov from 2002 to 2004 (Cloak shuttered in 2007). “I learned the reality of the business, that you have to be good at everything,” Geller recalls. “You have to be good at production, a good businessman, good at P.R., a good stylist. You have to be willing to dedicate your life to this. And then you have to be extremely lucky on top of that.” Geller has already collaborated with the L.A. boutique Fred Segal Man and the New York shoe line Common Projects, but the designer wants to use his experience—and his recent successes—to build his label into something bigger: “A nice, medium-size Dries Van Noten–type,” he says of his vision for the brand. “A couple of stores, a collection I can show, and a company that makes enough to support the brand and be relevant.” In the meantime, Geller’s label remains beloved for its dark, layered, loosely tailored garments, and for Fall 2013, he’s relying on a palette of charcoal blacks and heavy leathers. Work may take up much of his attention, but it does have competition. “My family just moved into a brownstone in Fort Greene [Brooklyn], and we can live there for the rest of our lives,” he says. “I’m a dad who enjoys being with my kids.”
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