Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons talk fashion, art, business – and their futures

MP: There are many different ways to look at this. The first is that people are afraid to talk about fashion. Because it touches your intimacy [nature]: you have to talk about yourself, your physicality, maybe even your weakness… All my life I have wondered why fashion is considered so cheap and so trivial in many situations. And that is one of the reasons. Second, it depends on how you position yourself in politics. However, I always forbade myself to speak publicly about politics. Being a rich fashion designer makes me feel uncomfortable. Maybe I’m wrong, but I still feel uneasy.

Vogue: Yes, but you are also a citizen.

MP: I know. And actually, I’m not sure if I’m right or wrong. But [with politics], you must be free. Because if I start sharing my opinion on a topic, people will say…

Vogue: This is hypocrisy?

MP: Aha!

RS: But don’t you think that perception has changed? Because fashion has become so democratic?

MP: Democratic, yes. And not. It depends. Because with fast fashion… it depends on how you position yourself in the fashion chain. We at Prada are in the expensive part. And there is nothing wrong with that. But when people don’t talk about fashion, I think it’s because they don’t want to talk about their bodies, their problems, their fantasies.

RS: Let’s say you go back to the late 1980s or early 1990s: if you’re in a family and your father is a politician and your son or daughter wants to be a fashion designer, then [it would have been] ‘Oh my God! Shame! Shame! Shame!’.

MP: I was ashamed…

RS: But now that has changed. Sometimes I feel that every parent wants their child to be a fashion designer. Because, ‘Oh my God! It’s like big money!’.

MP: Maybe, but anyway: I’m old, I’ve been ashamed all my life, but now a little less. Because with the money I earn I can do things – Fondazione, many things. But that’s my mentality: I’m not saying I’m right. Many people tell me that I am not…

RS: It’s not about right or wrong. I just think [fashion] has evolved, both for better and for worse. Which leads to another question. Because at the same time you can see fashion as something that used to be something that most people saw as ‘ewww’. But [at the same time], the fashion world itself was so elitist. And now I think it has turned around. I don’t know what to think — was it better then or is it better now. As you say, Miuccia, I don’t know if I’m right or wrong. I think both periods have their problems and advantages.

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