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Less than a week ago Opening Ceremony kicked off a multi-part interview series breaking down a conversation between its own Humberto Leon and Raf Simons to commemorate the designer bringing his eponymous line to OC’s New York, Los Angeles and London locations. In part 1, Simons went on to discuss his childhood influences, pursuing an education in industrial design, his early fascination with fashion, living in Antwerp, and so much more. Today, the international retailer lets loose part 2 of its introspective interview in which the heralded Belgian creative talks about what inspired him during the early years of his brand, as well as what designers and brands inspire him today. While choice excerpts appear below, part 2 of the interview can be read in its entirety here.
Humberto Leon: We were talking about the kinds of music you’re into. What else were you influenced by in the early days of your label?
Raf Simons: There really was no other visual communication besides television and record sleeves at that time. My village did not have trendy magazines like i-D and The Face. But I’d take train trips to Antwerp. You had access to everything there.
I’ve kept every magazine I’ve bought since I was a teenager, so I have all of the early i-Ds. And still one of my favorite magazines ever is the issue that you curated. It must have been in around 2001.
I’ve always stayed very connected to i-D. The first people I met in fashion—on the press side—were Terry and Tricia [Jones], and it almost became like a family.
Yeah. In 1998, near the beginning of my career, they staged a huge exhibition in the stazione in Florence, and I had two boys living in the exhibition space for two months. I put a bunch of clothes in there, a television, and a lot of video games and documentaries. Terry also put every i-D magazine in there. So I got to keep all of these issues from the early period.
You also talk about TV a lot. What kind of TV programs were you into when you were growing up?
When I was a kid, I was obliged to watch the Schlager Festival [laughs], which my mom was obsessed with! Then there was an early evening program called “Top Pop.” It was Dutch but they got everybody on it. It was sublime. Everybody was on it: Debbie Harry would be there in Stephen Sprouse, but when you’re young you don’t really recognize these moments at the time.