Rosie Davenport, an MA Fashion Journalism student from CSM was presented with an offer for the interview from their tutors the very first day of her course. Being the first student to pose a question at the Livestream, Rosie asked Raf Simons and Ms. Prada how do they find their collaboration together and how they resolve their disagreements. “I think the question was most intriguing to me because any collaboration always interests me. How they make it work and how they can compromise? Especially due to both designers having such a history and being big names in their own right. It was such an exciting collaboration and moment. I just wanted to know more,” she says. Miuccia Prada didn’t hesitate to admit that they barely have any disagreements: “If one of us really hates something we don’t do it,” she said. “We are constantly discussing and communicating and have ongoing conversations around ideas. For me, it is completely natural that if we think about something and it doesn’t really match we say ‘Skip, move on, next thing,’ because there are so many things that do match,” Simons added. Ms. Prada took the conversation to the importance of being open to changing your mind and highlighted the fact that the collaboration between the two was a decision. “Nobody obliged us,” she said.
“If one of us really hates something we don’t do it.” – Miuccia Prada
Anticipating the interview, Rosie was nervous about messing up her question. “We weren’t briefed particularly, we had to practice without the designers just for the technical side to make sure we were in frame and test our mics. It was the first time both designers heard the questions in the Q&A, so I think that added to the authentic nature of the talk. I loved when they asked the questions back to Papa!” she recalls, referring to a later part of the stream when a New-York student named Papa asked the designers their opinion on ways that luxury can exist in the absence of wealth. Whilst Miuccia Prada mentioned that the solution is making fashion more open and accessible, Raf Simons was more interested in what Papa thought of the topic. The student had the opportunity to share his view taking as an example his place of origin, Ghana. “Coming from Ghana, we do have luxury designers but looking at places like Paris or Milan, the things that make fashion luxurious are not the same as in Ghana. What we can do is value our local textiles and artisanal crafts. [Designers] should collaborate and see how we can translate luxury in Africa, for example,” Papa shared. To which Ms. Prada replied, “If you have anything to propose, stay in touch!”
Accessibility was a core element of the conversations, with the stream being proof that big fashion houses like Prada are seeking a connection with their community and want to make their audience part of the collections. “I think it is amazing that the opportunity was given to students to talk so candidly with such big designers. It is definitely not something I expected to be doing in my first week. I think the idea of inclusion was prominent throughout the collection and the talk. Online fashion weeks have given the sense of accessibility that maybe fashion was missing before. I was able to talk to them in Milano from my bedroom in Newcastle!” Rosie says. “Everyone on my course and from CSM has been so supportive and it was lovely to represent the university, I felt very lucky. My classmates mainly said I looked very calm – which was definitely not true. My mum couldn’t believe how big my face was on the screen!” the aspiring journalist shared.