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Raf Simons AW16
Backstage at Raf Simons AW16Photography Chloé Le Drezen

Raf Simons on ‘see now, buy now’, social media and speed

‘Will all that stuff still be relevant 30 years from now? I don’t think so.’

It’s widely accepted that fashion is in a state of transition. The last twelve months have seen creative directors come and go, men’s and women’s shows merge, brands’ runway and retail calendars align, and the very way in which the industry operates called into question. While those working in fashion and those observing it continuing to weigh in on these changes, fashion’s most notorious outsider – Raf Simons – has just given his verdict, in a new interview with Talib Choudhry for The Telegraph.

“Everyone is paying attention to the wrong thing in my opinion,” says the Belgian designer. “There’s this huge debate about ‘Oh my God, should we sell the garments the day after the show or three days after the show or should we tweet it in this way or Instagram it in that way?’… You know, all that kind of bullshit. Will all that stuff still be relevant 30 years from now? I don’t think so.”

“What we should ask is will we have enough creative people who are strong enough and willing to do what is necessary right now to follow that madhouse,” he goes on to say. “Lots of people are starting to question it. My generation especially is shifting now… like me and Phoebe (Philo), Nicolas (Ghesquière) and Marc (Jacobs). We’ve been around for 20 or more years. We know what fashion was and where it’s heading to. Now it’s a question of what we are willing to do and how we are going to do it.”

Simons also reflects on his time at Christian Dior, where he held the position of creative director until last October. “It was a fantastic experience and a fantastic time. I wasn’t planning to go there for such a short period, but I was also not willing to sign up there for a long period. So it became complicated and I decided to get out. That is partly due to the system that fashion has adopted. It is speeding up and up. Every season I see so many things evolving at such a speed that I think certain creative people, including myself, are just not willing to do it anymore. I don’t want to. If you work on that level, you miss out on a lot of things.”

As well as sharing his opinion on the state of contemporary fashion, Simons also discusses the latest fabrics he’s designed for Danish textile company Kvadrat, as part of their ongoing collaboration. The collection includes upholstery, cushions and throws – all bearing the designer’s modernist signature.

Read the interview here.