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Raf Simons: "Maybe It Was Nicer When [Fashion] Was More Elitist, Not for Everybody"

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Photo: Victor Boyko/Getty Images

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Before it was announced that he was departing from Dior, Raf Simons spoke with Cathy Horyn for System Magazine and the resulting interview shows that he was clearly ready to take a break. Business of Fashion has an excerpt of the article in which Simons talks about the grueling nature of the fashion industry and muses on elitist versus popular fashion.

"You know, we did this collection in three weeks," he tells Horyn. "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. And now we never have time like that." Funnily enough, this extremely short timeline in part inspired the documentary Dior and I, however, it now sounds commonplace for Simons.

Simons says that the pace of the industry has left him no time to let ideas simmer. "When you do six shows a year, there's not enough time for the whole process," he says. "Technically, yes — the people who make the samples, do the stitching, they can do it. But 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."

Simons adds: "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."

The former Dior designer says that part of the reason fashion has sped up is because it has become of much greater interest to the general public, and he can't decide whether he likes it that way or not. "Fashion became pop. I can't make up my mind if that's a good or a bad thing," he admits. "The only thing I know is that it used to be elitist. And I don't know if one should be ashamed or not to admit that maybe it was nicer when it was more elitist, not for everybody. Now high fashion is for everybody."