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Comme Des Garcons' President Adrian Joffe: Last Week's "Scandal Mongering" WWD Story "Twisted" Rei Kawakubo's Words

A look inside the new IT Beijing Market, image courtesy of Comme des Garcons
A look inside the new IT Beijing Market, image courtesy of Comme des Garcons

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Last week, WWD published an interview conducted with Comme des Garcons creative director Rei Kawakubo on the occasion of the grand opening of her IT Beijing Market shop in China. WWD's story contained then-revelatory gems including a suggestion that Comme des Garcons may be up for sale, a transcription that suggested Kawakubo disdained all young designers, and the assertion that their interview was a "rare" one.

This week, in an interview with Hypebeast, Comme des Garcons' International President Adrian Joffe strikes back at WWD—saying that the industry paper "twisted the words of Rei" and the WWD story amounted to a bunch of "scandal-mongering." See for yourself...

In a recent interview, Rei was quoted as being dismissive of the current crop of younger designers. Could you shed some light on what exactly she meant?

I believe you mean the interview that was published from the establishment rag known as WWD. We were rather upset if not shocked by the way they twisted the words of Rei and made it sound like she was dismissive of young designers in general. Everyone knows that Rei respects enormously all-young designers that work hard and believe in creation. Comme des Garcons are constantly on the lookout for creative talent to have in our multi mark shops, and anyone who knows Dover Street Market London will know we have many young designers there. She was merely making the comment about a lot of young people in general these days, not just in fashion, as they hope and expect for success too quickly and are too impatient. In her time, it took years and years before she was really able to make a proper living at making clothes. However she knows that the times are very different now and she knows how hard it is. She is in no way dismissive of young designers, as she only wants to encourage them to be strong and creative and follow their own vision. Sharing spaces with people like them is the fundamental idea behind Dover Street Market London and I.T Beijing Market.

Throughout the years, Rei has sparingly offered English language interviews, in reality is she less of a secretive person as many may believe?

This is another fallacy. Rei did at least ten or fifteen interviews in 2010 alone. We did five in Beijing just last week, even though WWD falsely called their particular one “rare”. What nonsense! She is not so much secretive as simply unwilling to talk about her private life and she doesn’t like being photographed. She basically doesn’t trust journalists because they often twist what she says and turn it around to make their point. She has very often been deceived by journalists in this way. The scandal mongering WWD’s article of last week is a case in point. Not only did they dare to publish a totally unauthorized photo of Rei, they also twisted many of her own words, or taking them out of context, to make them sound revelatory when they were not. For example, they made it sound that Comme des Garcons is for sale, which it totally isn’t. They called my 100% joke about waiting for an offer, a “half joke?”.

We've reached out to WWD for a response and will keep you posted as this story develops.
· Adrian Joffe: the idea of Comme des Garcons [Hypebeast]
· Comme Des Garcons is For Sale, Sorta: "We're Waiting for an Offer" [Racked]
· Rei Kawakubo on the record [WWD]