Demi Lovato recently wrapped up a three-month stay in rehab, and in one of her first public appearances, the singer was spotted cozying up to a new mystery man in Los Angeles. His name is Henry Levy (although he often goes by Henri Alexander), and he is the 27-year-old fashion designer behind Enfants Riches Déprimés (French for “depressed rich kids”).
Although Levy is currently sober, he has a dizzying past filled with drug abuse, rehab, and relapse. He grew up in a privileged household where he spent his childhood visiting art museums and the opera. He even attended Le Rosey, one of the most prestigious and expensive boarding schools in the world, home to kings and princesses, in the Swiss Alps. However, he quickly became enthralled with the world of punk rock and drugs, entering rehab at age 15. This cycle continued into his time at UCLA’s art school. He did not graduate.
But Levy’s experience in rehab actually helped inspire his now-successful fashion company. “Being around those kids [in rehab], just their absurd entitlement and everything, definitely had an influence,” he said to Complex in 2016. “They don’t have to work a day in their lives, you know what I mean? Their complete existence is based around what other people think.”
It was Levy’s intimate connection with these other “depressed rich kids” that helped inform his clothing collection. He launched the label in 2012, and after only two months, it was picked up by Browns Fashion, a prestigious British department store. Rebecca Osei-Baidoo, the womenswear buyer at Browns, told Complex, “The first time we received the delivery of the caps and T-shirts, we posted it on Instagram with the caption ‘All you rich, depressed kids out there, this is for you.’ The phone in Focus didn’t stop ringing with people wanting to purchase the pieces.”
The ERD label is also largely inspired by the punk rock music scene of the ’70s. Levy discovered the Sex Pistols and the Clash when he was just 11. But his love for punk rock music introduced him to the world of drugs, which led him to rehab, and thus this vicious cycle continued until he finally achieved sobriety. But it is this key theme of drugs that he brazenly showcases in his designs. In one example, he designed a T-shirt that says, “Puppy Saved From Overdose.” He’s also delved into Nazi imagery, designing a shirt with a Nazi duck, and in a recent design, he created a cartoon called “My Nazi Parents,” in which a rebellious son becomes angry with his parents for not locating a record. But one of his most disturbing designs is a T-shirt that depicts a naked woman masked, bound, and chained, with her underwear visibly pulled down to her feet.
It is clear that his complicated clothing line is not meant for the masses. “The best way for me to explain the brand is ‘elitist, nihilist couture,’” he told Complex. “The price point eliminates the masses, and the ideas eliminate the people who I don’t want, generally, in it, due to the dark nature.”
Levy purposely makes nothing in quantities greater than 100, and his price point is deliberately expensive. Tees cost several hundred dollars, and his studded leather jackets retail for well over a thousand. “Enfants Riches Déprimés is a place in which conceptual art, literature, music (punk, hardcore, dream pop, post punk, new wave…), abstract neo-expressionism and luxury meet,” Levy told Vogue Italia. “The luxury side is extremely important for me. It’s not for everyone.”
Yet, somehow, his method has worked. Today, his designs are sold in luxury retailers like Ssense, Farfetch, and the Webster. He has amassed a large celebrity fanbase that includes Jared Leto, Justin Bieber, and Courtney Love.
Perhaps it is Levy’s ability to translate the complex world of drugs, punk rock, and elitism into a tangible clothing line that his customers not only resonate with but want to project.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: