Raf Simons : an interview


On Growing up…

“I go back to a lot of things I was seeing but not experiencing myself when I was younger. I saw the punk scene happening- I was too young to be involved- and later other strong youth culture groups, but they were thingsI felt I could not be a part of myself. I was from a small village, a very isolated place far from the city, about an hour away from Antwerp. When you are younger this is a long way. I went to a small Catholic college, where artistic things were not promoted at all. So when I picked up ideas from the street, it wasn’t in me to be like that myself.”

“I had nobody, absolutely nobody who I could relate to, nobody who gave me energy and inspiration.”

“I’ve never had a ‘fuck you’ attitude. I’ve always had a sense of responsibility. It was later when I had a good job doing industrial design, living in Antwerp, surrounded by people who gave me inspiration, that I decided to quit my job and change everything.”

“What I know about industrial design is that I found it very isolating and that I wanted to move away from it, but now I feel attracted to it again. In the last ten years I’m once again interested in the idea of furniture and making something that lasts and has a different presence.”

On Maison Martin Margiela…

“After that [he third Martin Margiela show] I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer.  A very impactful show, I think four out of five people were crying. After that I had a very different idea of fashion.”

When Belgian designers like Martin Margiela started to come out. It was a very strong, impactful time for any Belgian who was interested in fashion.”


On Fashion…

“I think that every designer should strive to make a difference, to question things, to find a way of having a dialogue with their audience. That is the most satisfying part for a designer, if your brain and heart is very much about creation.”

“I’m not someone who is happy with gut reactions. I’m a creative person so I love the dialogue and energy of the shows. But overall I want to make sure people fall in love with the clothes and that they are satisfied.”

“Very often I communicate ideas knowing that there is no specific outcome. Fashion is not there to educate you, but to challenge you. Sometimes I speak with young kids and I have the feeling…not that they have no interest, but that they look at it a different way. This is the reason I chose to do fashion, to create a dialogue and bring people together.”

with love.

Interview sourced from the publication “Raf Simons” curated by Terry Jones

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