Rei Kawakubo: Young Designers Are Lazy And ‘Lack Discipline’

Like Martin Margiela, Rei Kawakubo is one of those designers who is so mysterious and whose work is so covetable that she inspires total awe in people like Tavi and Cathy Horyn and, well, basically any and everyone.

Yet despite her high-profile projects — a collaboration with H&M, her Dover Street Market complexes in both London and Tokyo — the reclusive designer rarely agrees to interviews, which is why we’re loving her recent chat with WWD.

Here are 5 things we learned from the surprisingly candid Kawakubo:

1. She’ll probably never run out of crazy cool concepts.

WWD: Do you think the time will come when you don’t want to design anymore and you don’t have any more ideas?

[No answer]

2. But she acknowledges that her prolific career makes coming up with fresh and original ideas hard.

For me [my inspiration] hasn’t changed at all. The way I approach each collection is exactly the same…the motivation has always been to create something new, something that didn’t exist before. The more experience I have and the more clothes I make, the more difficult it becomes to make something new. Once I’ve made something, I don’t want to do it again, so the breadth of possibility is becoming smaller.

3. She’s totally not into young designers.

There are few people who, like us, have the values and the way of thinking to really try hard. They lack discipline. And it’s not just fashion, I think…[young people] get satisfied too easily. They’re not strict enough with themselves. They’re too soft on themselves.

4. Her shopping venue of choice? An airport.

[I like to shop] at airports, because I don’t have time to shop. I buy my cosmetics at the airport and there’s nothing else much I buy. I just don’t have time.

5. Oh, and she’s modest. Sort of.

WWD: Would you consider selling it or listing it on the stock market?

RK: I don’t think there’s anyone who would want to buy it. I do everything on my own, so there are very few people who could do it. Do you think there’s anyone who would buy it?

And while we regretfully can’t embed it, we urge you to check out the official Rei Kawakubo rap, as performed by Tavi. (Yes, this is a thing that exists!)

[WWD]

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