Helmut Lang was born in Vienna and grew up in rural Austria with his grandparents without a television or telephone. Lang said of the experience, "To grow up under really simple circumstances and to understand that certain things were ornamental—the idea of the simple life interrupted by the opulence of particular festivities—that made an impression on me as a child and is something I use.” He studied business to become a banker but switched to fashion.
The Austrian artist is known for his simple, elegant and urban clothing designs. He created the fashion label Helmut Lang in 1986, but he left the label in 2005 to focus on art projects. (The brand was acquired by Prada in 2004 and sold to Link Theory Holdings Co. of Japan in 2006.)
The influence that Lang has had on fashion in the last three decades is undeniable. Helmut Lang now lives in Long Island, New York.