In a highly-anticipated moment at this year’s Fashion Talks in Antwerp, Raf Simons made a noteworthy public appearance, marking his first since departing Calvin Klein at the end of 2018.
Engaging in conversation with fashion critic Alexander Fury, Simons refrained from discussing the specifics of his departure from Calvin Klein. Instead, the audience of 800 attendees was treated to an insightful dialogue that once again showcased Raf Simons’ intricate relationship with the fashion industry.
Simons offered glimpses into his formative years, tracing his origins back to Antwerp where he initiated his career during the ’90s. He also extended gratitude to Walter van Beirendonck, a presence in the audience, for the instrumental support provided during his early days. He underscored the sense of community that pervaded Antwerp’s fashion scene during that era.
«The contemporary creative director’s pivotal role is to ignite desire,» affirmed Simons when asked about the evolving responsibilities of creative directors today. This statement resonated powerfully in the context of discussions on sustainability and wearable fashion within Antwerp.
Simons reiterated his concerns about the relentless pace of the fashion industry, characterized by ever-quickening seasons and the constant churn of pre-fall and cruise collections.
Recalling his time at Dior, Simons candidly described the immense pressure he faced, particularly from the press and journalists seeking early access to collections and participation in fittings leading up to shows.
Simons expressed a guarded outlook on the future of designer fashion. He openly criticized the growing dominance of marketing and commercial growth over the artistic integrity and craftsmanship inherent in couture. He lamented the industry’s shift toward commercial success at the potential expense of its creative essence.
As the conversation with Fury concluded, Simons’ words garnered resounding applause and a standing ovation, underscoring the significance of his insights in the realm of fashion.