Fashion is something you attach to yourself, put on, and through that interaction the meaning of it is born. Without the wearing of it, it has no meaning, unlike a piece of art. It is fashion because people want to buy it now, because they want to wear it now, today. Fashion is only the right now.
What I want to express is a feeling-various emotions that I am experiencing at the time-whether it is anger or hope or anything else, and from different angles. I construct a collection and it takes concrete form. That's probably what appears conceptual to people because it never starts out with any specific historical or geographical reference. My point of departure is always abstract and multileveled.
I can't become naked for everybody. It's never going to be possible for the person to write the whole story completely, so I find bits of myself, bits of what I think in some articles. And I don't give lip service to journalists. I never make them feel comfortable. I say, "It's your job to make the story."
The freedom I give myself for the business is in deciding to take part in the Paris collections, but also having other retail strategies that are unlike anybody else's. Not necessarily going into malls, doing the business my own way - having different brands to cover different concepts, to be able to have the cash flow to carry on.
In Comme des Garçons, I hardly do any sketches; there's no fittings on bodies, there's no models that come in and say, "Oh, a little bit like this." In the beginning, there isn't even a theme. It's like getting the whole world at your feet - to empty your mind of everything that's ever happened before, to get an empty space.
The idea was not to make a huge business, because the bigger you get, the more restraints I thought I might get. Number one was to do what I set out to do: make new and interesting things within the size of the business that is possible to do without restraints. The second goal was to do the business in order to achieve the first goal. That's what many people don't understand.
In terms of creation, I have never thought of suiting any system or abiding by any rules. In this respect I have remained free. The necessity has grown, as we have gotten bigger, to think about commercial aspects of the business more and more, because of the responsibility we have toward our staff and our factories.
The theme of the collection this time is MONSTER. It's not about the typical Monster you find in sci-fi and video games. The expression of the Monsters I have made has a much deeper meaning. The craziness of humanity, the fear we all have, the feeling of going beyond common sense, the absence of ordinariness, expressed by something extremely big, by something that could be ugly or beautiful. In other words, I wanted to question the established standards of beauty.
There's always a pattern in order to make a thing, but the starting point must be something I've never seen before. It's not two-dimensional, but it's like a sample. I work with patterns like a sculptor. I try to get [the team] not to work on a body, [but] to work on a free space, on a table. The work is basically on flat surfaces.
If I do something I think is new, it will be misunderstood, but if people like it, I will be disappointed because I haven't pushed them enough. The more people hate it, maybe the newer it is. Because the fundamental human problem is that people are afraid of change. The place I am always looking for-because in order to keep the business I need to make a little compromise between my values and customers' values-is the place where I make something that could almost-but not quite-be understood by everyone.
If you have total freedom to design, you won't get anything interesting. So I give myself restraints in order to kind of push myself through, to create something new. It's the torture that I give myself, the pain and the struggle that I go through. So it's self-given, but that's the only way, I think, to make a strong, good new creation.
Years ago, it was easier to make new things than it is now. The weight of experience weighs heavily, and the expectations; everybody wants to see something they haven't seen before. Now, with social media, with too much information, with the speed of information - all that is making it harder and harder to realize the objective.