In a 2014 interview with Suzy Menkes for Vogue UK, Raf Simons, who had just left Dior, bemoans the fast-paced environment at the French fashion brand and approaching deadlines. He expresses sorrow in especially for missing Frieze, the London Contemporary Art Festival, which was a major source of inspiration for him, and wonders how creativity can be satisfied if it is not properly fostered. The creative person should be the one who thinks when he creates something, just as the sensible guy drinks when he is thirsty.
But do we still have time to think creatively in the realm of fashion today? Two Main Collections, to which we must add the two Pre, four or more campaigns, dozens of digital projects, and thousands of pieces of content that must be created on constantly changing platforms and languages are the burden that frequently prevents the creative genius from rising, from being freed from anxiety-inducing deadlines, and from expressing itself fully.However, the fashion sector is worth about $20 billion globally. Therefore, it would be unwise to ignore an idea, concept, or product’s commercial viability or marketability. Where do ideas originate in our hectic business climate, and how long do they last?
In order to protect his creativity, his silence, and in some ways his whole body of work, Martin Margiela refused the craven compromise, imminent deadlines, and maybe even the digital revolution in 2009. Raf, one of the most prominent people in the fashion industry today, has decided to end his own label, which served as a voice for the new underground currents of design-first a cult, now an obsession for future generations. Raf is the co-director of Prada with Miuccia Prada. Its perceived weight, which was frequently overly conceptual and hence difficult to reach for the generations it entrapped and later conquered, was one of the factors that contributed to its strength. The ultimate 2.0 fashion reference, from Tumblr to TikTok via Grailed and Instagram, is Raf Simons’ aesthetic. Even though the choice does not seem surprising and may have been influenced by his greater involvement with Prada, the Raf-Miuccia duo appears to be finding a common stylistic ground after much effort. However, in recent years, a certain weariness and a dearth of topics capable of grabbing attention as they did in the past have emerged. What if we are short on time rather than ideas?In fact, we’re not here to examine or defend Raf’s decision, which in a way, I think is more than fair as a manifestation of freedom, but rather to inquire as to whether fashion is still open to including complex figures in its artistic and conceptual expression. So, can the fashion business still uphold originality?
How much more creative freedom is there to be had? The works of JW Anderson and Martine Rose reflect a glimmer, or at least an attempt, to remind us that fashion is an art form and not just a product to be worn, yet the answer would seem to tilt toward nay when looking at the emerging independent creative landscape. However, if we restrict the scope to Italy, the response is a resounding nay. With a few exceptions: Alessandro Michele, for instance, as demonstrated by the Gucci Vault project, has developed his own aesthetic imagery and produced a recognisable notion of quick luxury. They are unaware that it goes beyond the actual goods. Is the creative director someone who can think and create, or must they merely be able to make and sell? In this situation, time is no longer a gentleman; rather, it turns into the principal enemy as a result of a severe deficit and a capitulation to the fast-paced world of fashion. I’m not sure how we might recapture this time, but a new attitude of adaptation and a general system shrinking (and slowing down) seem like two reasonable places to start. Because if we stop making, we will eventually cease creating, just like it happened to Martin Margiela, Raf Simons, and, sadly, Alexander McQueen.