My first piece
Already with the first piece I had an entire story made up in my head. I always start with the story. The clothes are just decoration for my stories. You have to know I had a blog when I was 13, 14, 15. It was very famous in France. It was like my Instagram now. I was telling a story per week: all stories were about me. Simon in the fields. Simon by the sea. Simon on the farm with my family. I love blogging and Instagram. I do that spontaneously and I’m not ashamed to use it. For me, it’s about sharing. I like sharing my vision. So I took pictures of my first pieces, created a story around them and shared it on Facebook. The next day someone messaged me from Les Inrockuptibles, a famous French music magazine, and said we saw your collection we would like to interview you. I was like, “ah oui!” It was so beautiful.
The first collection was good, but not precise. The second collection was better. I did a white-only collection which was a strong statement and allowed me to tell a strong story. But my techniques, the clothes themselves, were not perfect yet. Then the third collection, which was an all-wool collection, was a really strong collection. That was also the collection Rei Kawakubo saw. Meeting her and her partner Adrian Joffe changed my life. Rei Kawakubo saw my collection in Tokyo, in a showroom. I wasn’t in Tokyo, too poor to travel, but the showroom people passed on her comments. She made super good comments on my collection, so I googled her. I didn’t know who she was. I knew Comme Des Garçons, but not who was behind it. Her comment was: “For a young designer at the age of 21 to do a collection this precise, you have to be an extremely strong designer.” I agreed. It was a strong collection. I had used only boiled wool. I made cropped tops, without any detail, simple skirts and a colour palette so minimal it was brutal.
When I met Adrian Joffe, I told him I needed a job because I had no money to continue with my brand. But Joffe said no. He said: “You’re an artist. You cannot be in our shop.” But I said I couldn’t accept his answer. I told him: “You are going to take me and I’m going to be the most motivated sales assistant you’ll ever have because I need money and I’m going to make it.” And he hired me. This is when Joffe started testing me. He wanted to know if I was sincere. I stayed for two years and worked every day at the shop. My collection I created at night. Two seasons later, Joffe started ordering my collection for Dover Street Market in London. It sold well. That was my first true breakthrough. It was such a beautiful but also bizarre experience to work at the shop. People working in the fashion industry who were coming in the store, kept recognizing me and were surprised to see me in the shop as a sales person. They were like, “Oh but you are Simon, the hype designer, the one we saw scream on the TV,” and I was like, “Yeah, that’s me.”