Born September 13, 1986 in Bordeaux, France, Olivier Rousteing was born and raised in France and to this day still resides there.
Unlike many other successful designers, Rousteing did not did not grow up extremely privileged. Olivier was adopted at age 1. Rousteing to this day know is unaware who his biological parents are. He refers to the couple who adopted him as his parents. Rousteing was adopted from an orphanage. The couple who went on to adopt him were were sure they wanted Olivier when they first saw him. When they said to the orphanage manager they definitely wanted to adopt him he replied with: “Yeah, but he’s black, are you sure? We have so many other, white babies.” Olivier’s soon to be parents replied with “No, no, no, we want a black baby.”
Olivier’s parents were an average couple. His father was called Bruno-Jean and his mother was called Lydia. His mother is an optician, while his father is a seaport manager.
When Olivier was aged 10 in 1996, Bordeaux was mainly conservative alongside being very religious and was made up of a white population which is when Olivier started to realise about the differences between white children and black children such as himself.
Olivier soon started to find his skin colour complicated when people often approached him telling him things like “Oh, you’re a bastard, your parents are white and you’re black,” or “Your mum slept with a black man,” or “Your dad was with a black woman.” This would continue until secondary school however Olivier never classed this as bullying, instead he reminded himself that his parents love him and choose him out of all the other children at the orphanage.
After finishing school, Rousteing moved to Paris to study fashion at Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (also know as ESMOD). Rousteing graduated in 2003.
Olivier started his fashion career as a designer at Roberto Cavalli. He was soon promoted to be the creative director of the women’s ready-to-wear collections. He would continue this role for five years, he left in 2009.
On April 26, 2011, the 24 year old was assigned as the creative director of Parisian fashion house, Balmain. Rousteing found this as a big surprise because in the fashion industry he was relatively unknown. Balmain chose Rousteing for multiple reasons. One reason was because of his age and the fact that the fashion house needed a fresh approach on modern fashion. Balmain knew Rousteing could provide this new approach.
In early 2015 when Rousteing finally came to fame, Rousteing was interviewed by many magazines. It was within these interviews Olivier blamed his anonymity on his race and the fact many other designers did not like a 24 year old dark skinned man was taking over one of fashion’s biggest brands.
However, Rousteing’s designs did not go unnoticed. It was thanks to these designs that Olivier is now friends with people like Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Rhianna and Beyoncé that his now a well known designer. Rousteing frequently uploads selfies with the big celebrities mentioned above which is one reason why he is one of the most popular designers on Instagram with a total of 1,300,000 followers on his personal account. Rousteing can also be credited for increasing Balmain’s male sales by 40%.