Sunday, November 03, 2013

rei kawakubo and creativity.......

“The voice of the designer has never been so important in disseminating brand values. Cynically put, he (or she) who shouts the loudest, gets heard the most. Yet whilst Kawakubo’s refusal to explain herself has often frustrated her public, her silence has given her voice more power and resonance than any other fashion designer in the industry today,” 
Hans Ulrich Orbist on Rei Kawakubo

Sometimes I wonder if the cliche of celebrity has made brittle that which we call fashion. As Mr Hans Ulrich Orbist says, those who shout the loudest are heard the most. And I wonder if this is to the detriment of what is at it's core a creative industry, where surely the talented and not the loudest should rise to the top.

But then I remember the likes of Rei Kawakubo. In an interview with System magazine for the Autumn/Winter 2013 issue, an exclusive extract of which you can read on BoF here, Kawakubo talks about the creative process in designing a new collection, in this case SS14. 

"I break the idea of ‘clothes.’ I think about using for everything what one would normally use for one thing. Give myself limitations. I pursue a situation where I am not free. I think about a world of only the tiniest narrowest possibilities. I close myself. I think that everything about the way of making clothes hitherto is no good. This is the rule I always give myself: that nothing new can come from a situation that involves being free or that doesn’t involve suffering." 
Rei Kawakubo

As fascinated as we are with the clothes themselves, and we are, we are equally as fascinated with where a designer draws inspiration from. Perhaps it stems from a desire for the consumer to forge a deeper connection with a collection, a designer, a brand. But how does one form a connection with a designer that attempts to break the clothes, before rebuilding them with seemingly no reference to their past? It's a interesting concept and a thought provoking question. Anyone who has viewed Comme des Garcons SS14 collection, or in fact any before that, can attest to the process that Kawakubo describes above.

While I'm of the thinking that inspiration for the creative process can come from anywhere, Kawakubo's point about nothing new coming from a situation that doesn't involve suffering rings true in every since. What's that old saying about necessity being the mother of invention?

In an industry increasingly controlled by celebrity, and fame and a huge marketing machine, all of which can become incredibly overwhelming; it's not just refreshing, it's cleansing for the soul and palette to read about Rei Kawakubo and her creative process, and to see it in action on the runway. And for just a moment, we can be reminded where creativity can take us when we don't try to conform it to expected ideals. When, instead, we look for something new.

What do you think? 
kb xx