RONNIE COOKE-NEWHOUSE: Journalists sometimes describe you as intellectual, ascribing to you a kind of rigorous, cerebral approach to fashion. Is there another way you would describe yourself?
REI KAWAKUBO: I am not conscious of any intellectual approach as such. My approach is simple. It is nothing other than what I am thinking at the time I make each piece of clothing, whether I think it is strong and beautiful. The result is something that other people decide.
RCN: Next year the company will be 40 years old. When you started, you did so to be a free and independent woman in Japan. How do you remain free?
RK: In terms of creation, I have never thought of suiting any system or abiding by any rules-either a long time ago or right now. 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.
RCN: Does the deadline of having to show a collection a few times a year help or hinder your creative process?
RK: Since we are in the business of fashion, deadlines are normal. I can’t say if they help or hinder me.
RCN: What is so important about being new? Does creation have to be new?
RK: Creation takes things forward. Without anything new there is no progress. Creation equals new.
RCN: Why do you always go back to black?
RK: I have always liked black. However, recently black has become as habitual as denim, so I wanted to find tomorrow’s black.