Rei Kawakubo Feels Young Designers “Lack Discipline”

On the opening of her multibrand I.T. Beijing Market, Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo shed her usual elusiveness to talk about changes in China, the future of her own brand, and what she observes as an increasingly global fashion scene.

Kawakubo seems to have an especially established grasp on the market in China, which has recently gained steam among the worldwide fashion industry. She cites the change in government for opening up a sense of freedom in the country, which has given way to new movements in fashion and style.

"When I came here 10 years ago there were no people who would wear Comme des Garçons ... Now it is much more casual. I used to enjoy seeing people wearing communist workers' clothes and I don’t see that anymore."

Kawakubo seems unimpressed, however, with the latest crop of design talent. "They lack discipline," she told WWD. "They're not strict enough with themselves."

Reflecting on her own evolution as a designer, Kawakubo pointed out that real motivation behind her designs is to make things that feel truly "new". "The more experience I have and the more clothes I make," says Kawakubo, "the more difficult it becomes to make something new, so the breadth of possibility is becoming smaller."

When pressed on whether she believes she'll someday run out of ideas and simply stop everything, Kawakubo, thankfully, had no answer.

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