Even though he left fashion a decade ago, few designers are looked back on and revered as fondly as Helmut Lang, which is why Quartz went slightly off-script from its business-oriented focus to shout the gospel of the New York designer from the rooftops. We can't think of a more worthy cause.
Quartz lays out just how lasting Lang's influence really is through a series of—you guessed it—examples. Before Balmain became the biker jean du jour for everyone from struggle rappers to actually good rappers, Lang did it first and was one of the pioneering influences is what became "designer denim." The bulletproof vest that is coming in Yeezy Season One? Lang did it first *Simpsons nerd voice*. All these military bomber jackets, particularly those with hanging bondage-like straps? Yeah, that was Lang too.
Unfortunately, a whole lot of his work is gone, shredded for the sake of art, though there are many collectors of rare, archival pieces. The influence of Lang didn't stop with just clothes either. We can even thank him for NYFW: Men's. Lang moved up his S/S 99 show to precede Europe and other brands followed the leader. By the next season, a grip of New York shows suddenly jumped onto his schedule. And now here we are with our own week.
It's not only unfortunate that Lang is no longer designing clothing, but also that the successors to his business haven't lived up to expectations, especially with the financial dealings that now essentially has it as a subsidiary of Uniqlo's Fast Retailing.
Maybe the saddest thing about all of this? Most of us weren't into fashion during Lang's hey day. But his sheer influence and ahead of its time designs are undeniable. A fond look back never hurt anyone *sheds single tear*.