Poell grew up in Austria, forcefully immersed in the leather business against his will. Although he mastered the art of constructing garments and manufacturing leather from his family his entire teenage years, he became resentful towards the fashion industry and its patrons. Eventually, he parted from this business and decided to take design into his own hands. Before he could do so, he needed to master the art of tailoring, so he attended “The Costume Michelbeuern School for Tailoring and Dressmaking” in Vienna, until he grew unhappy there, at which point he moved to the “Domus Academy” in Milan. After receiving his masters in fashion design, he shortly after established a company under his namesake “Carol Christian Poell” in 1995.

Carol Christian Poell has remained one of the most enigmatic designers to date within the avant-garde menswear scene. Poell’s design techniques are more comparable to an artist like Francis Bacon rather than a fashion designer. Every piece tells a story – beginning with the garment’s construction and ending with how it is sold to the customer. Poell characterizes these customers as “victims” who develop intimate relationships with their respective articles of clothing, whether they like it or not.

Poell released his first collection in ’95, titled “The Unintended Collection.” It was limited to four garments; a t-shirt, a button-up, pants, and a jacket. Short, sweet, and concise, which became the mainstay for the brand, would be reflected by the seasons to come. Poell does not conform to “fast fashion,” or even the regular season by season structure his contemporaries abide by. His designs represent everything that corporate fashion is not, and he releases a collection/season when he feels the time is right.

Poell’s work reflects pain. His entire modus operandi epitomizes the concept of anti-fashion to the extent of satire. His work reflects life and death, morphing and distorting the body. They are uncomfortable as they rarely abide by standard European sizing, and never quite hit the mark of form-fitting. There is nothing else like it. Whether you are a victim yourself or just a passerby, you are already a part of his masterplan.

View our Carol Christian Poell Collection


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