Dries Van Noten, one of the most successful members of the renowned Antwerp Six, started his own collection in 1986.
His intellectual aesthetic first took the international fashion scene by storm when he and other graduates of Antwerp’s Royal Academy rented a truck and set up shop at London Fashion Week in 1986 after gathering experience freelancing as a consultant designer and working as a commercial designer for other companies. Since then, Mr van Noten has maintained his independent spirit, and has been maintaining the creative integrity of his design process and aesthetic. An independently-financed designer, in June 2018 Van Noten sold a majority stake of his namesake business to Spanish group Puig. The designer remains the chief creative officer and chairman of the brand.
Van Noten is the third generation of his family to work within fashion; both his father and grandfather were tailors. In 1970 his father opened a boutique on the outskirts of Antwerp selling Emmanuel Ungaro, Salvatore Ferragamo and Ermenegildo Zegna. His father’s business took Van Noten to the menswear shows in Milan, Düsseldorf, and Paris, experiences that taught him both the commercial and technical sides of the industry, and prompted his realisation that he was much more interested in design. In 2007, Van Noten opened his first Paris boutique for women, opening his next location in Tokyo two years later, following the expansion into menswear via another store in Paris.
Van Noten has six stand alone stores, including a five-storey former department store in Antwerp. His collection is sold in over 500 wholesale doors around the world. The scale of his business is particularly impressive given that the designer does not advertise.
He won the CFDA International Designer of the Year Award and the distinction of "Royal Designer for Industry" by the London-based RSA Trustee Board in 2008, and received the honour of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in July 2014. An exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris featuring his designs and influences opened that same year. Van Noten also holds the Flemish Royal Academy of Belgium's Gold Medal and the Couture Council of the Museum at FIT New-York's Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.
In 2014, the Parisian Musée des Arts Décoratifs staged the exhibition featuring Van Noten's designs, moving to Antwerp in 2015. In 2016, Van Noten won the Culture Award of the Province of Antwerp for his cultural contribution, dressing the Belgian Queen, various actors for awards and renowned contemporary as well as classical dancers for performances.