Acclaimed fashion designer Thom Browne to join Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study for 2022-23 academic year

Author: Brett Beasley

Thom Browne (Photo by Alastair Nicol)

Award-winning fashion designer and University of Notre Dame alumnus Thom Browne will join the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS) as an artist-in-residence during the 2022-23 academic year. 

The NDIAS is a University-wide research institute that convenes an interdisciplinary group of faculty, graduate and undergraduate fellows each year to study questions that require a joint focus, benefit from sustained research and advance understanding of pressing issues that affect our ability to lead valuable, meaningful lives. Browne will join a cohort of scholars investigating the research theme “The Public.”

A former GQ Designer of the Year and three-time winner of the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award, Browne is known for his modern, innovative approach to design. His designs have been recognized by the top museums around the world including the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Costume Museum at Bath and the ModeMuseum Antwerpen. Browne has engineered global public moments while dressing cultural icons of multiple generations, from LeBron James and David Bowie to Michelle Obama and Cardi B.

“It is a great honor to welcome Thom into the institute this year,” NDIAS Director Meghan Sullivan, the Wilsey Family College Professor of Philosophy, said. “As an artist, businessman and cultural force, Thom and his company have changed the way Americans think about suits — and our identities at work and in public. There is no modern designer who has had a bigger impact on connecting athletes with envelope-pushing fashion, and his work with celebrities and public figures has ingeniously elevated our ideas of beauty. We are thrilled to have him back at his alma mater and to host a University-wide discussion of how fashion and design shape public life.”

The NDIAS will host Browne for visits to campus during the fall and spring semesters. Each visit will include a public-facing event focused on Browne’s life and work moderated by Notre Dame alumnus Michael Hainey, bestselling author and former deputy editor of GQ. Browne’s residency will also include time with NDIAS fellows and classroom visits with Notre Dame students.

“My years at Notre Dame were formative to me, developing my sense of self and my motivation to succeed,” Browne said. “Athletics have always been important to me, an important part of my life. My time swimming at Notre Dame stays with me until today. The rigor and discipline keeps me striving for more each day, never compromising. My Notre Dame experience continues to inform my daily approach to life, to design and for success. It is an honor to return to South Bend as an artist-in-residence with the NDIAS, especially with my close friend Michael Hainey.”

During his spring visit, Browne will engage the one-credit course “Strong Suits: The Art, Philosophy, and Business of Thom Browne,” co-taught by Meghan Sullivan and Michael Schreffler, associate dean for the arts and associate professor in the Department of Art, Art History and Design. The course, which is open by application to students from the College of Arts and Letters and the Mendoza College of Business, will investigate high fashion from an interdisciplinary lens.

“Thom Browne’s residency with the NDIAS underscores Notre Dame’s commitment to the arts,” Schreffler said. “His presence on campus will be a significant addition to our fine arts programming, and his public events and engagement with faculty and students will provide an incredible opportunity for us all to learn and gain inspiration from a luminary in the world of art and fashion.”

Browne graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1988 with a business degree and launched his fashion brand in 2001. Public events will give Notre Dame students an opportunity to learn about his journey as he moved from a single shop in New York City’s West Village to the center of a global fashion brand with more than 80 stores worldwide. 

By joining the NDIAS, Browne becomes part of an institute with a tradition of supporting artists and creative endeavors. Previous artists-in-residence include award-winning science fiction author Ted Chiang, MacArthur Fellow and poet Reginald Dwayne Betts and acclaimed Russian artist Maxim Kantor.


Contact: Kristian Olsen, assistant director of communications and fellowships, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study,, 574-631-2830