Jon Koon is the most interesting man you’ve never heard of, writes The National. On December 11th, the Chinese American artist, entrepreneur, photographer and fashion designer – and self-made millionaire by age 16 – made his way to Florence for a Polimoda Rendez-Vous unwrapping his global empire and epic ascent in fashion.
Today a renowned artist and owner of Andy Warhol’s former SoHo studio, Koon’s humble origins remain a surprising driving factor of his success. Born to immigrants from Hong Kong and raised in Jamaica, Queens, Koon impressively made his first art sale at age 8, selling his drawings to the U.S. greeting card manufacturer Hallmark. Motivated by his struggling family, the young business guru founded Extreme Performance Motorsports while still in his teens, a company importing Asian car-tuning parts, eventually becoming one of the main suppliers for the hit MTV show Pimp My Ride.
Driven and resourceful, Koon soon made his way into fashion, first as the manufacturer behind rapper Cam’ron’s label The Diplomats and later as the sole manufacturer of all Rocawear headwear. Koon Enterprises quickly rose to a top-notch clientele, including Honda and American multinational corporation Costco, leading to the 2008 purchase of Jay-Z’s 8732 streetwear brand, which he successfully relaunched with Young Jeezy.
After a myriad of business ventures in and outside of fashion, Koon launched his own luxury menswear line, Private Stock. Shaped by private, exclusive goods and a novel take on luxury, the collection “represents his vision of tomorrow’s global fashion house… the result of an eclectic fusion of cultures, trends, and perspectives,” explains the brand site. In 2013, Koon opened his first bricks-and-mortar store at the historical 76 Wooster Street – Andy Warhol’s former studio and home – a 5,000 square-foot anti-retail “amuseum” featuring lacquer walls, art installations, a koi pond and only 28 hangers. Strictly limited edition, Koon’s label produces 8 pieces per size with a 28-piece max per design, redefining luxury goods as irreplaceable rarities.
In addition to his own label, Koon is also the owner of Haculla, a streetwear brand based on the design and art of contemporary painter Harif Guzman. On the occasion of his Rendez-Vous, the designer label showed at Pitti Uomo 95 in an exclusive art installation titled ‘Art-Meets-Fashion,’ which explored the continuous evolution of New York street art and experimenting with innovative materials. A maverick of upscale streetwear and pioneer of retail concepts, Koon is a true modern force, affirming a new vision of luxury and design in today’s global world.