Rei Kawakubo Thinks Athleisure Is V Boring

by: Lucy Jones | 2 weeks ago | News

The woman, the myth, the legend. Image Source

Legendary designer Rei Kawakubo is not here for your fitness gear. In a rare interview with the New York Times' T Magazine, the designer said that athleisure is the most boring form of fashion.

Kawakubo is known for her downright shady interview antics. Once she answered a journalist's question by drawing a circle on a piece of paper and walking away. On another occasion, she explained her collection by saying "the void is important". These obscure responses suggest that Kawakubo operates on a higher plane of intelligence than most of us mere mortals. 

When it comes to design, the word genius definitely applies to Kawakubo. Her gender-bending clothes are worshipped by adult goths and contemporary menswear designers alike. For over 40 years she's been designing wearable artworks for Comme des Garçons that are about as far from athleisure as you can get. It's no surprise then, that she thinks gym gear is basic.

This priceless revelation occurs midway through the NY Times interview when Kawakubo's husband and translator, Adrian Joffe, says: “The one thing she doesn’t like is camping clothing — you know, walking-outdoors fashion?” The interviewer asks if Joffe means athleisure, this is the exchange follows:

"He nodded and scribbled the word down in English on a scrap of paper for Kawakubo to read. “You know this word?” he asked. She shook her head in disdain. “The most boring fashion for her is this,” he said. “I have looked to see if there is anything interesting here and I have not found it,” Kawakubo added.

At another point in the interview, Kawakubo says that her business is about creation rather than consumption. “I’ve often thought this is the most difficult way to do business. It’s not easy to sell only ideas and ones that people are not used to,” she explains.

Kawakubo's dedication to this vision is what makes her such an influential designer. Her technical clothes remind us that fashion can (and should) be interesting and challenging. In a world that is increasingly dominated by fast fashion sameness, hers is an important message.

Read the interview in full here

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