Raf Simons Speaks on Calvin Klein and A$AP Rocky in WSJ Interview
Since taking over as creative director of Calvin Klein, Belgian designer Raf Simons has achieved multiple landmarks throughout his career. After recently being nominated for Designer of the Year by the British fashion council, Raf Simons talks with The Wall Street Journal, giving insight through an expansive new feature story.
As WSJ, he speaks of his journey to America and his goal to take on the multi-billion dollar label Calvin Klein. Simons mentions how his second collection for the label— titled Calvin Klein 205W39NYC—wasn’t to please the typical American clownishness that Europeans occasionally fetishize. The collection brought subtle controversy. Simons states that, “It’s about American horror and American beauty. Fashion sometimes tries to hide the things that are maybe not so good. It should not be so naive to deny our reality day in, day out. This house has a big voice and a responsibility.”
Further into the interview, Simons speaks on his inspiration as a designer and his early influences growing up in Belgium, such as New Order, Joy Division and David Bowie, saying, “I naturally connect more to art than anything. I don’t really connect to fashion so much besides my own. I find art way more interesting — to look at, to experience, to have a dialogue about.”
Raf goes further into his creative process by sharing, “I think basically what I’m interested in now at Calvin is exploring what I don’t know yet and linking it to things that I know very well. What I don’t know yet is what appears to Americans as very normal— a milk bottle, a landscape, a word people here use. Stupid things — a barn, a canoe, a river. [In Europe], we don’t have a barn. We don’t have a canoe the way you have a canoe. Don’t ask me why I find it inspiring.”
Whether from his work at Calvin Klein or his label of his own name, Raf Simons has inspired many fashion icons of today's generation, including rapper A$AP Rocky. After working on his own label, Simons over the years became known as a hip-hop hero. Rocky expands on his love for Simons’ label saying, “His Sterling Ruby beige coat from 2014, with the patchwork, the colors, the stripes — perfect, man! I run that all the time. He’s always been about graphics and rebellion, being a teenage boy, and I relate to that even now. One of the kids in my crew even has a big Raf Simons tat all across his stomach.”
Be sure to head to The Wall Street Journal to see the full interview.
Written by Alex Ceballos