Business of Fashion : Raf Simons Speaks to Cathy Horyn
November 13 2015
Before he announced his exit from Dior, Raf Simons spoke to Cathy Horyn for an article that appeared in System magazine. BoF published an exclusive excerpt of that conversation, revealing Simons’s thoughts on the speed of fashion and on the role of the contemporary designer, who is forced to adapt himself to the frantic pace of the fashion industry. This interview provides an intimate portrait of a man questioning his situation, his life and his future.
“Everything is done in three weeks, maximum five. And when I think back to the first couture show for Dior, in July 2012, I was concerned because we only had eight weeks," says Simons about the time he took to develop his collections for Dior.
The designer was intentioned to create a new studio structure at the French House, but he had to gave up his plans. "When you do six shows a year, there’s not enough time for the whole process," he explains. "Technically, yes — the people who make the samples, do the stitching, they can do it. But you have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is very important.“Horyn points out how designers are constantly creating with no time. Raf admits he has no problem with the continuous creative process, but what he misses is brainstorming ideas with his right-hand Pieter Mulier and the rest of the team, like he used to do when he was at the head of Jil Sander.
The efficiency of Dior’s ateliers, not to mention the expertise of its 75 seamstresses and tailors, helps to move the design process along, which makes everyone involved more proficient, but leaves little time or room for second options. The system technically works, but it doesn’t match with Simons approach to fashion: "I’m not the kind of person who likes to do things so fast,” says the designer. Commenting the current state of fashion and the explosion of social medias he adds that “the existing fashion system wants stuff it can repeat again and again. Everything is so easily accessible, and because of that you don’t make a lot of effort anymore. When we were young, you had to make up your mind to investigate something — because it took time. You really had to search and dig deep. Now if something interests you, one second later, you can have it. And also one second later you also drop it".. "There’s never enough time,” he states, not even to pull out from tension in the context of professional life.