Steven Sprouse was born in Ohio, USA in 1953. His father was in the Air Force. Right from childhood, he was interested in design of clothes and could sketch them from the age of 9. When he was 12, his father took him to New York and he met designers like Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene and Norman Norell. He got a promise out of Bill Blass that he could come and work for him when he was older. By the time he was 14, he was sketching for Blass in his summer holidays. When he was 18, he attended the Rhode Island School of Design for three months but then he left. He then spent 3 years working as an apprentice for HALSTON.
Sprouse became known in the later 70's and early 80's for his stage clothes for rock and roll stars including Debbie Harry of the rock group Blondie. In 1983, with a loan from his family, he launched his first collection.
In the 1980's Stephen Sprouse halped pave the way for a 60's renaissance, designing such nostalgic fashions as this neon pink, Nehru-collared reversible coat of 1985, shown over his black silk jersey sleeveless T-shirt and short wool gabardine skirt.
In 1988 he closed his business but he re-opened in 1997, and used Andy Warhol's prints on his dresses. Sprouse had the exclusive rights to use the famous Pop Art images in clothing designs. This 1998 outfit is called 'partytime' and has Day-Glo graffiti sprayed onto the outfit.
In the year 2000, Sprouse was again in the news. He decorated the Louis Vuitton showroom with his signature graffiti prints, and collaborated with them on a handbag covered with a graffiti print. This was then seen on the arm of practically every woman in the world. It was a runaway success.
In 2001 Stephen designed the tent used for New York Fashion Week at Bryant Park.
In September 2003, Diesel Stylelab introduced T shirts with the signature graffiti designs by Stephen Sprouse.
Stephen fell ill with lung cancer in 2003 but kept it private while continuing to work. In March 2004, he entered St. Lukes/Roosevelt Hospital Center, and died there of heart failure at the age of only 50.
Louis Vuitton team missed him greatly, and dedicated their March collection in memory of their friend. On March 10th, 2004, friends gathered in New York and covered his coffin with his signature graffiti, slipping a market pen into his hand so he could write the final words himself.
His clothes were inspired by 60's fashions. He pioneered the revolutionary idea of mixing uptown sophistication with downtown punk and pop. He specialized in bright, Dayglo, fluorescent colours, especially 'hot' pink and yellow. He made mini dresses, min skirts, shown with bare midriffs, graffiti dresses and stockings. Sprouse's clothes were unconventional and inspirational. He took the influence of London punk, which was prevalent in the 70's and 80's and reinterpreted it, American-style. He collaborated with artist Keith Haring on some of his designs.