Rei Kawakubo: “Angry with easy fashion”

Main image Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market. Photograph Paolo Roversi

Main image Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market. Photograph Paolo Roversi.

[Adrian Joffe, Kawakubo’s husband, acts as interpreter during The Guardian interview, conversing with her in Japanese and relaying her answers to the English journalist. She seems to understand English.]

“She said I should explain to you the amount of work she has to do, the shops she has to design as well as the collections. It never stops,” Joffe says. What elements of the job do you enjoy? She shakes her head on translation. “There is no pleasure in the work,” Joffe tells me. (She always calls it “the work”.) “She says people who say they enjoy the work, she thinks they don’t take it seriously. The only way to hope to make something new is not to be satisfied.” Does she, famously unenthralled by fashion history, ever think about what her legacy will be? They chat for several minutes, then Joffe turns to me and says, “She’s never thought about it. She doesn’t care about or believe in posterity.” She says something in Japanese – the tone is dismissive – and he turns to her and says, in English, “Everybody else thinks about it! You are the only one who doesn’t think about it. That’s why designers make foundations, because they care about history, about what will be their legacy. You are the only one who thinks like this.” She says something else, quieter this time. “She says when she’s not here any more, she doesn’t care if nothing is here any more,” Joffe says with the hint of a sigh. “She is highly unusual.” She looks at me, and smiles.
(Jess Carter-Morley, “A rare interview with Comme Des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo,” The Guardian, 9-15-18)

[Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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