The names behind Badgley Mischka are those of James Mischka and Mark Badgley. Mischka was born in Burlington, Wisconsin in 1960 while Badgley was born in East St. Louis, Illinois in 1961. Mischka moved to Malibu, California and then Princeton, New Jersey before moving to New York City to go to college at Parsons School of Design. Badgley took business classes at the University of Southern California before relocating to New York City where he enrolled in Parsons School of Design.
In 1985, the duo graduated college and went their separate ways. Badgley went to work for Jackie Rogers and Donna Karan and Mischka took a position as an assistant designer at Williwear. With the help of their families, in 1988, the two came together to design and collectively launch their own line. In 1989, they were awarded the Mouton Cadet Young Designer award for what The New York Times described as "torch-singer sultry evening clothes". Gaining popularity, Escada acquired Badgley Mischka in January of 1992. Also in 1992, they won the Dallas International Apparel Mart Rising Star award.
Venturing into bridal, Badgley Mischka Bride is launched in 1996. Winona Ryder wore a Badgley Mischka design to the Oscars in 1996. In December 1996, Ryder wore another design by the two on the cover of Vogue. Not only was the duo's design on the 1996 December issue, but also the 1997 December issue as well.
Badgley and Mischka's first store opened on Rodeo Drive in September of 2000. In the next several years, actresses wore Badgley Mischka gowns in their weddings, to the Oscars and on covers of magazines. As popularity of their brand was growing in Hollywood, the two launched a swimwear collection, a contemporary collection, sportswear and ventured into accessories.
They expanded into fragrances in 2006 and currently have three fragrances. Badgley Mischka fragrances were created by perfumers Richard Herpin, Caroline Sabas and Rodrigo Flores-Roux. Their fragrance license is held by Elizabeth Arden.