Ahead of New York Fashion Week, men’s publication GQ, sat down with Raf Simons for a very candid interview. The Belgian fashion designer and new chief creative officer at Calvin Klein didn’t hold anything back. He touches on a variety of topics from Donald Trump’s presidency to the less than stellar feelings about Virgil Abloh and OFF-WHITE. Here’s some of the interview below. Head over to GQ for the full piece.

You’ve come to New York during a fraught time. Do socio-political situations influence your work?

Yes. But I’m not gonna say—I’m gonna show. It’s too fragile to express in words. It’s something you have to feel. I’ve always thought that it’s interesting if I can cause a relevant dialogue, or a constructive dialogue.

Do you think that fashion and design can be a form of rebellion or resistance? With a situation like Donald Trump’s presidency, can it be a form of protest to design or to just get dressed in the morning?

Yes, I think it can be a form of resistance. But no more than any other person taking a position or speaking up. I don’t think that because it’s fashion it’s more of a resistance.

There are some designers now—and I’m thinking of Virgil Abloh at Off-White, Demna Gvasalia with Vetements, Gosha Rubchinskiy—who are connecting with the youth through fashion in a new way. Are there any young designers today that inspire or excite you?


Anyone in particular?

Not Off-White. He’s a sweet guy. I like him a lot actually. But I’m inspired by people who bring something that I think has not been seen, that is original. It’s not always about being new-new because who is new-new? And of course you have to have people who inspired you. I’m not just trying to be politically correct here—trying to be nice and sweet about people because that’s what we’re always supposed to do when these questions come up in interviews—but honestly, are you asking me if I think that these people are inspired by my brand?