Christian Cowan’s first foray into menswear lets everyone be ‘part of that fantasy’

Christian Cowan stars on In The Know’s digital cover for February 2022.

In the world of larger-than-life fashion moments, Christian Cowan is one of the few designers who aren’t afraid to push the envelope. With devoted celebrity fans and muses like performers Cardi B and Saweetie to iconic drag superstars like Aquaria, he’s created a lane for himself built on glamour, boldness and volume.

However, just before his cover shoot for our inaugural Iconic issue, Cowan added an unexpected new venture to his repertoire: A menswear collection simply called Christian Cowan Essentials.

Credit: Jasper Soloff

This marks the designer’s first foray into everyday clothing, allowing everyone to achieve the Cowan fashion fantasy without spending tons on couture prices.

This line is a dream come true for a lover of clothing basics. It features everything from sweatshirts and T-shirts to underwear and crystal-embellished denim jackets. Though this marks a monumental occasion for the designer’s fashion house, it still came with its fair share of controversy.

The collection’s campaign launch took many by surprise. Models showcased the line’s thongs and boxer briefs in a series of sensual poses that definitely caught people’s attention. The images, which show two men together, led to a sponsor dropping out of a future fashion show. This moment further opened Cowan’s eyes to the fashion industry today and where his values lie.

Credit: Jasper Soloff

“I found it interesting. I released that campaign, and some of the images show two men being romantic,” he told In The Know. He added that the withdrawn sponsor “felt the images were too erotic” — a take he described as “nonsense.”

“Let’s face it, if it was a man and [a] woman, no one would be saying anything,” he added. “So, I think that’s a prime example [of] where we have to show our values and then if something else falls through, [so be it].”

As far as his inspiration for creating this more accessible campaign goes, the British designer added that he wanted to create fashionable pieces that were actually attainable for the everyday individual.

“It was just important for me to have stuff that other people can access and purchase,” he said. “We want stuff that is for people who can’t afford a $5,000 dress but still want to be part of that fantasy. That was really your push. I saw on Instagram we have a 37% male following. So I was like, ‘Let’s get stuff [for them].”

Check out Christian Cowan’s entire Essentials collection here and read his full In The Know digital cover story here.

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