Raf Simons Reveals the Fast Pace of Fashion

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Before Raf Simons announced he was leaving Dior a few weeks ago, and just two days after Dior’s Spring/Summer 2016 ready-to-wear show, he gave a candid interview to Cathy Horyn for System magazine’s Autumn/Winter issue, and Business of Fashion has shared exclusive excerpts. From putting together a collection in three weeks to texting himself ideas before they disappear to running out of time to think—and time, in general—Simons gives an intimate look at what life is like, today, as the creative head of a design house.

On the time-frame for designing his latest collection…
“You know, we did this [Fall ready-to-wear] collection in three weeks. Tokyo was also done in three weeks. Actually 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.”

On brainstorming under pressure…
“When you do six shows a year, there’s not enough time for the whole process…you have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is very important. When you try an idea, you look at it and think, Hmm, let’s put it away for a week and think about it later. But that’s never possible when you have only one team working on all the collections.”

On the rapid design process…
“Technically speaking, it works. Does it work for me emotionally? No, because I’m not the kind of person who likes to do things so fast. I think if I had more time, I would reject more things, and bring other ideas or concepts in. But that’s also not necessarily better. Sometimes you can work things to death when you take too much time.”

On the lost exclusivity of fashion…
“Fashion became pop. And I don’t know if one should be ashamed or not to admit that maybe it was nicer when it was more elitist.”

On how he’s adjusted his creative approach
“But I have no problem with the continuous creative process. Because it’s the reason I’m in this world. It’s always happening. I just did a show yesterday. Just now, while waiting in the car, I sent four or five ideas to myself by text message, so I don’t forget them. They are always coming.”

On his daily schedule…
“I have a schedule every day that begins at 10 in the morning and runs through the day, and every, every minute is filled. From 10.10am to 10.30am, it’s shoes, let’s say. From 10.30 to 11.15, it’s jewellery. Everything is timed — the whole week. If there’s a delay in a meeting, the whole day is f***ed up. What are you going to do? Walk out of the office at 8 o’clock at night? No, of course not. So you stay there until midnight. That’s the life. So we created two design teams.”

On technology’s impact on everything…
“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.”

On his personal versus professional life…
“This is the feeling I have all the time. There’s never enough time. You get a tension. I know how to pull out from this in my personal life. We go and look at nature for three hours. It’s heaven. We go to a bakery and buy a bag of stuff and lie in the grass. Sublime. But how to do that in the context of your professional life? You buy a house and you start doing pottery or something?”

Kristen Heinzinger is the Senior Editor of The Daily Front Row/Daily Summer.

1 Comment

  1. Simon

    November 8, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    You just have to be able to think mini collection of 20 models every 10 day…

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