“In Malibu we would make love beads and dye our clothes. In New Jersey, it was totally chinos and button-down shirts”
Born in Burlington Wisconsin and growing up in California and New Jersey, James Mischka is the second half of the label Badgley Mischka. A national merit scholar, Mischka was offered a scholarship to Rice University where he initially studied biomedical engineering with the intention of designing artificial limbs. However, he soon changed majors to Arts Management and after four years graduated with a bachelor’s degree. In 1982 Mischka moved to New York City to attend the Parsons School of Design and shortly after arriving met future partner Mark Badgley. Following his graduation from Parsons, Mischka worked for legendary designer Yves St. Laurent and menswear designer Willi Smith. In 1988, along with Mark Badgley, James Mischka successfully unveiled a line of eveningwear under their new label, Badgley Mischka. Fashion press and editors were smitten with the detailed yet simple and streamlined designs, while Hollywood’s elite started flocking to him. Partners Melissa Etheridge and Tami Lynn Michaels famously wore Badgley Mischka to their 2003 commitment ceremony. Retailers like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Ave, and Barneys have been purchasing their designs since day one. And for the past few years to expand his clientele, Mischka has begun producing footwear, eyewear, swimwear, watches, jewelry, bridesmaid dresses, and evening bags. Throughout his 21 years as a designer, Mischka has received acknowledgements like Mouton Cadet Young Designer Award (1989), Dallas International Apparel Rising Star Award (1992), and the Marymount Designer of the Year Award (2001).
James Mischka is a collector of vintage cars, currently owning a 1968 Avanti and 1971 Mercedes 280SL. Also, Mischka co-owns an apartment in the New York City Chelsea neighborhood, West Palm Beach home, and an 1899 farmhouse in Oyster Bay.