Over a period of 12 years, the duo have transformed Rag & Bone from a modest line of men’s jeans into a ready-to-wear and accessories label for both men and women, as well as becoming a fixture on the international fashion-week show schedules. In September 2012, Wainwright and Neville relinquished their regular spot at New York fashion week to show at their recently opened European flagship store on London’s Sloane Street.
Rag & Bone’s cinematic advertising campaigns have starred the likes of Kate Moss and Miranda Kerr, while its understated clothes, which combine technical fabrics with traditional tailoring, have been worn by Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Emma Stone. In 2007, Wainwright and Neville were presented with the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in Menswear Design and won the Council of Fashion Design of America (CFDA) Menswear Designer of the Year in 2010.
The pair first met at boarding school in Berkshire, southeast England, but cemented their friendship working behind a bar in Portugal during their gap year. More trips followed – Wainwright had started a telecoms company, while Neville worked in investment banking, but, tired of the British weather, they moved to Mexico where Wainwright met ‘a beautiful American girl named Glenna [Neece, a model] and followed her back to the States’. They are now married with three children, while Neville is married to Gucci Westman, global artistic director of Revlon, with whom he has two children.
Today, from their studio in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District with a team of more than 300, the duo share their path to success.
David Neville: ‘I had been working in banking in London and when Marcus asked if I wanted to join him in New York, I didn’t have to think hard about it.’
Marcus Wainwright: ‘It was in New York that I decided I wanted to create a great rigid pair of men’s jeans. After some trial and error, the “eureka moment” finally came when I found this amazing factory in Kentucky in the summer of 2002, with incredibly skilled artisans who had been making clothes for decades. We started with menswear and branched into womenswear the following year and more recently, accessories. That trip to Kentucky informed our brand’s philosophy as we witnessed the importance of craftsmanship. Our appreciation of heritage fabrics and tailoring stems from our British roots – my father introduced me to Savile Row pieces as a child and we both went to a boarding school where we wore uniforms every day. Military is also a recurring theme for us.’