Fashion Designer Rei Kawakubo, 73, Is Not Copying Anyone

Photo by Eiichiro Sakata

Photo by Eiichiro Sakata

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS? I'm always looking to make something that didn't exist before, fumbling about in the dark, not just while making a collection. The search for something new is a constant in my everyday life. But constantly searching for something new is like looking for a well in a desert. It is like drowning in the dark, but creation is what I built Comme des Garçons on. For a collection, I need to push myself into a corner and find a way to get over the walls. The ideas are born disconnectedly, incoherently, and slowly, slowly, a final image emerges. 

IS FASHION AN ART FORM? When fashion is driven by creation, I suppose it can be called an art form. But I have no concept of art in my work. Clothes are only completed when somebody actually wears them. If they were art, they could be more abstract. As long as something is new and has never been seen before, I don't mind if people call it art. Wear them if you dare. 

HOW DO YOU BALANCE ART AND COMMERCE? Comme des Garçons is a company founded on creation, but the link to business cannot be ignored. As the designer who is also head of the company, I have been able to "design" the company based on these same values. I want to take ultimate responsibility for the things I make and follow through everything right up to the end. What emerged, therefore, was a single decisive and coherent idea. Creation is our business. 

DO YOU HAVE AN ULTIMATE GOAL? There is no end and no goal. As long as I'm attempting to make something that never existed before, an end is out of the question. 

HOW IMPORTANT IS VISUAL COMMUNICATION? Extremely. I don't trust words. 

WHAT IS BEAUTY? Beauty should bring excitement.

Interview via Interview Magazine