raf simons guardian interview Calvin Klein the guardian
Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris

In one of his first interviews since leaving Calvin Klein, Raf Simons spoke with The Guardian about his plans to open an art foundation and his ongoing collaboration with the Danish textile company, Kvadrat.

The interview, which took place in February, observed the Belgian designer involved with a growing art collection, his own menswear line and a textile collaboration that allows him to do his “most innovative work.”

Simons (51) has been working in the fashion industry for 23 years, yet as the interview outlines, his career has been punctuated by numerous extra projects, “from curating art shows to making photographic books and teaching for several years at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.”

Despite leaving his position as chief creative officer eight months into his contract at the New York fashion house, he maintains, “I’m never without a job.”

Read a selection of our favorite quotes from the interview below.

On his departure from Calvin Klein:

“What you read and what actually happened are not always the same thing.”

On being a designer:

“I’ve never officially defined myself as a fashion designer, maybe because I didn’t study it.” “I was more into people who had a strong relationship with social responsibility, like Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand.”

On the industry:

“It’s been changing since the 90s. In the past, a designer made a collection and presented it to a small audience of professionals, then one picture appeared in a magazine, and months later the clothes came to the shops. Oh my God, the desire that created! Now everyone sees the runway show right away, and by the time the clothes are available, people have moved on to something else. This fast communication, it’s exciting but it can be dangerous, too. Damaging.”

On his plans for a new art foundation:

“I want to make things public. I’m not interested in setting up a really private foundation,” he says. “Rather something with education and collaboration built into it.” “It’s quite a responsibility. I’m not exactly buying things you can ship back home in a crate and hang on the wall.”

On his ongoing collaboration with Kvadrat, the Danish textile company:


On what to expect from Kvadrat’s stand and showroom at Salone 2019

“We’ll have a cafe and a space for social interaction. It’s not a showroom, it’s an environment, a place of inspiration…I hope it’s as good as it sounds. It’s so much more massive than anything we’ve done before.”

You can see Simons’ latest work in Milan during this year’s Salone. The design and furniture exhibition begins today, April 9, 2019, and runs until Sunday, April 14.

In other news, we sat down for a conversation with BRISTOL Studio’s Luke Tadashi, which you can check out below.

Weekend Staff Writer

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.