Marc Jacobs was born to a non-observant Jewish family in New York City. When he was seven, his father, an agent at the William Morris Agency, died. His mother, who remarried three times, was “mentally ill” and “didn’t really take care of her kids”, according to Jacobs. As a teenager, he went to live with his paternal grandmother on the Upper West Side, in an apartment in the Majestic on Central Park West.
He attended the High School of Art and Design and studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York. While at Parsons in 1984, Jacobs won the Perry Ellis Gold Thimble Award, Chester Weinberg Gold Thimble Award, and Design Student of the Year Award. He also won an award in 1991 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.