Raf Simons on Music, His Dream Client and Communication Before Cell Phones

Menswear fashion force Raf Simons – known for his ability to tap into the zeitgeist, particularly in terms of art, youth codes and music references – will make his debut for Calvin Klein in February. The much anticipated tenure does merely mark a new beginning for the American design house; no, Simons’ presence is expected to up the ante for New York fashion as a whole, which is largely characterized as more commercially-motivated than its international fashion counterparts. In the meantime, here is a look back at some of Simons’ thoughts on his dream client, life before cell phones, and music – of course. 

One thing I’ve had forever is: A yellow T-shirt with a black print on it from the movie “The Shining” that goes way back to when I was a teenager.

An old album I still listen to is: Kraftwerk’s “The Man-Machine” [1978]. My 1998 show was called “Kraftwerk” because I had four boys in red shirts in it who looked like replicas of the band members.

If I could tell my 20-year-old self one thing, it would be: grab and protect love when you find it. Cherish it, focus on it, concentrate on it.

My dream client would be: anyone, really. When I design, I am thinking about a lot of people, not just one. It’s more about connecting to a certain kind of generation or a certain kind of person that will connect to what we do.

I always wear: Adidas Stan Smiths. I have had periods where I only wore Stan Smiths, maybe from age 15 until I was 25.

The hardest part of a man’s wardrobe to get right is: the tie and suit. [There is] so much bad suiting out there in terms of fit, style and fabric. So, when I design, I don’t start with fit or fabric, but with meaning. The phrase “suit and tie” has a special place in our vocabulary.

The one thing I always travel with is: my sweatshirt from Vier, a skateshop in Antwerp. “Vier” is the Dutch word for four. I always take it on flights because I refuse to put on the pajamas they give to you.

The one thing I wish didn’t exist is: mobile phones. I am old enough to remember how it was before them. There was something much more beautiful about not having one. We communicated in such a different way with each other.