Raf Simons Preferred When Fashion Was "Elitest"

raf simons - H 2015
AP Images

raf simons - H 2015

The former Dior creative director has some thoughts about the changing nature of the industry.

We all believed that after the spring 2016 fashion season wrapped up in October, things in the industry would cool off for a little while — at least until holiday season. 

But instead, the industry had some of its biggest shakeups of the year shortly following fashion month. Raf Simons announced that he would be leaving his post as the creative director at Dior after only three short (albeit successful) years, and then, just a week later, Alber Elbaz revealed that he was also parting ways with Lanvin.

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The departures initiated an industry-wide conversation about "designer burnout" and the pressures to create collection after collection in such a short period of time (according to Simons, often only 3-5 weeks), with each creative director lamenting the rushed process and the forced immediacy brought on by social media. 

In an interview for System Magazine following his last presentation for Dior with fashion critic Cathy Horyn, Simons further explained that rather than adapt to this new technology-heavy environment that fashion has become, he would, ideally, revert back to another era.

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"Fashion became pop. I can’t make up my mind if that’s a good or a bad thing," he said. "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." 

Indeed, with designer collaborations with fast-fashion retailers around every corner (Balmain x H&M, 3.1 Phillip Lim x Target and so on), as well as the pervasiveness of supermodels in pop culture and social media, there's no denying that high fashion has become more approachable. 

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Simons continued, "Everything is so easily accessible, and because of that you don’t make a lot of effort anymore. When we were young, you had to make up your mind to investigate something — because it took time. You really had to search and dig deep. Now if something interests you, one second later, you can have it. And also one second later you also drop it."