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Heading progressive fashion mainstay Opening Ceremony, Humberto Leon‘s own success is pivotal to his inspirations that stem from creative visionaries like Raf Simons. Hence, it comes as no surprise that Raf Simons recently joined the Opening Ceremony family with his eponymous brand being carried in OC retailers. With that, Leon caught up with the Belgian designer and discussed his upbringing, the influence of Antwerp in his youthful and rebellious designs, alongside their joint affinity for Pulp and The Breeders. View the insert below and head over to Opening Ceremony for the full piece. Stay tuned for the second part of the interview coming next week.
Humberto Leon: First, I have to tell you that I still have all of my Raf pieces from the beginning. I haven’t thrown anything away since I was sixteen. We have been dying to have you in the store for years and the timing seems so perfect now.
Raf Simons: I am so happy to be in the store. It’s finally a really good moment.
You’ve spoken about growing up in a small town with only one record store. I feel like all of your collections, especially the early ones, use youth codes as a starting point. Growing up, how connected were you to those subcultures?
The weird thing is that I was raised on a street where there were farms and cows and animals, and there was a complete disconnect from culture. Complete. I went to a very Catholic college—we took Latin, Greek, and mathematics—it was the kind of place where, when you reach eighteen, you’re supposed to become a doctor or a lawyer. But I knew very, very early on that this was not what I was interested in.