Rick Owens Sounds Off on Young People, LA Fashion Week, and Why He'll Never Collaborate

Rick Owens Sounds Off on Young People, LA Fashion Week, and Why He'll Never Collaborate

>> Karl Lagerfeld gives us the quotables, Marc Jacobs gives us a little tabloid-style drama, and Rick Owens, who recently stated that "working out is modern couture," is starting to hold his own in the interview arena — there's nothing like a good, strong opinion. 

He recently sat down in his Paris showroom for a ten-minute video interview with Hint, covering everything from what he thinks is "icky" to why we almost didn't have any Rick Owens runway shows.  The highlights:

Though he used to be based in LA, he finds designers there "arrogant and demanding."

LA is great at making sitcoms.  Paris isn't as good as LA is at making sitcoms; every place has their specialty.  And then they do LA Fashion Week, which is incredibly arrogant and demanding.  I mean, these editors have been all over the globe for a couple of weeks [for Fashion Month] and then LA is saying 'Okay, now you have to come here.'  Please, I mean, get off your ass and go to Europe.  I mean, that's what I did and you just have to go where you have to go.  They just don't have the tradition, and they do other things really good, so why do they have to be a fashion capital?  They're the movie capital of the world and they've always been that, can't they just be satisfied with that?

So why Paris over New York?

Excess and being more extreme, Paris is the place to do it.  Not only is it accepted in Paris, it's practically enforced, and I knew that's the kind of designer I wanted to be.  I knew I wasn't going to be Comme des Garcons — I don't think anybody is going to do that anymore — but I knew that I wasn't going to be straight enough for New York.

Doing runway did make him feel like a sell-out. »

He felt like sell-out when he first started doing runway shows.

Originally, my idea for clothes had been kind of anti-display.  I always resented the idea that radical fashion and that extreme kind of fashion was only reserved for the runway, and then a designer would come out at the end in jeans and a t-shirt, underlining the fact, 'Well what I'm presenting is this, but it's not possible.'  And I thought, well this should be possible, so I wanted to take those kind of silhouettes and translate them into something soft and gray and have them assimilate into everyday life.

At the beginning that was a little hard to translate on the runway, I made some mistakes, but I think eventually I ended up figuring out how to do it in a way that I felt good about.  I feel great about it now, now I really enjoy shows.  Before, it was a little bit like, oh, I feel like a sell-out.  I feel like it's working now — I'd never even been to a fashion show before I started doing them, so there was a lot to learn.

He takes a nap, or "mini-suicide," every day.

There was also a lot to learn just in the fact that I'd always been working in such an isolated, kind of reclusive way in LA without a fashion community.  When I moved to Europe all of a sudden I had to communicate with a lot of people in a lot of different languages, and it was kind of overwhelming.  That's why I take a nap every day, partly just to recharge, but also there's a little bit of escape in it.  I get oversaturated in having to communicate with a lot of people all day, so it's kind of an escape in the middle of the day to have privacy again, complete privacy.  It's like kind of a mini-suicide.

Don't expect any collaborations anytime soon.

There are some people that thrive on working in a community or collaborating.  I'm a terrible collaborator — I can only be completely passive or completely dominant, I can't do in-between.  I've tried things where I had a lot of energy around and young people with cute haircuts and stuff.  I just can't deal with all that excess energy, all of that desire and all of that ambition and all of everybody's needs, so I have to be really spoiled and be by myself.

If you're applying for a job at his studio, forget sending him a collage.

Not to put young people down, but I get portfolios, and I get applications and CVs that have images cut and pasted and collages and stuff.  I'm like, what the f*ck am I going to do with a collage?  I can do a collage.  I need old people who know how to make things.

You won't be attending a Rick Owens-sponsored party anytime soon.

We do things kind of quietly.  I've learned that people just find out.  Rather than embarass myself . . . Now, everything is so celebrity based, and there's five things happening in London that night and it's a competition, and if you don't have the right celebrities at your function, it automatically becomes the failure of the night.  Why would I put something that I'm doing — that's not me and that's not my costumer — so why would I put us in that position?

Same goes for hearing from a Rick Owen press office — they're "icky."

I had a press office, and I decided to disengage from that because having a press office became something I didn't like in my life.  I didn't like paying someone to remind me every day that I had to get more attention for myself.  That started feeling icky.  I thought, you know, I've gotten this far without that much press anyway, so why all of a sudden do I want to join into this thing that I don't really believe in?  At that point I thought, you know, I don't have to do this, I can just eliminate this.  There's no rule, so I just cut that out.

Latest