Opening Ceremony, founded by Carol Lim and Humberto Leon in 2002, has evolved from the in house brand of a New York department store, into a leader in the market of combining avant-garde styling and streetwear.
Founders: Carol Lim, Humberto Leon
Location: New York City, New York State, USA
About Opening Ceremony
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon first met in 1993 as students at the University of California, however both took different paths. Lim graduated in Development Economics whilst Leon pursued art and fashion. In 2001 however they met again in New York and after visiting Hong Kong together, they were inspired to open a store which encapsulated the eclectic mix of clothing and culture they saw on their journey. In 2002 Opening Ceremony Store was launched with the aim of bringing together brands from around the world, and it was here the in house brand was launched. The brand has been described by the pair as “basics plus” comprising of simply cut yet high quality fabrics. Knitwear comprises much of their outerwear collections whilst footwear has been the brands most successful export. The Desert Boot collection can be regarded as a ‘staple’ amongst streetwear, where using simple yet timeless silhouettes they have forged a place in the crowded footwear market. Colours tend to remain monotone throughout collections, a simple yet deliberate ploy for a brand which is bases itself on the foundation of complimenting avant-garde designs from Brazil to Germany in Lim and Humberto’s stores. The brands collaboration partners are also signs that the it aims to make itself understated and timeless. Timberland and Levi Denim as partners, indicate the brand seeks longevity in a constantly evolving culture where brands are consistently appearing and disappearing. Therefore it would appear the academic background of Lim has had huge effect on the brand as it seeks a solid grounding before expanding – much like economic models – personified in the opening of a second US store across the country in Los Angeles. Opening a third store in Tokyo in late 2009 gives the brand a base in arguably the most influential city in the streetwear scene again reminiscent of Lim. The concept of creating a market based store however implicative of Dover Street Market in London represents the artistic nature of Humberto who has sought to associate Opening Ceremony with one of the most influential names in the fashion world – Comme des Garcons. It would therefore appear the pair have struck the balance between business and art. Humberto has stated “We want our store to be… built into the DNA” and the way which the brand has founded itself would suggest its life span could go on for many years to come.