When it comes to creativity, not many people can see Jeremy Scott. By now, you’ve read our cover story with Scott and rapper-of-the-moment A$AP Rocky, where the two talked killing it in their respective fields. Before the two got together though, we had an exclusive sit down with Jeremy to talk about his come-up and the work he’s put in to solidify himself as one of the hottest designers around.
Jeremy does things his way, whether he’s working on runway clothing, sneakers, or watches, and it’s the reason everyone from Kanye West to Katy Perry go to him when they’re trying to stunt. Read our full, uncut interview with Jeremy where he talks about co-signs from Karl Lagerfeld, Kanye’s first foray into women’s clothing, and what’s most important to him as a designer.
Complex: How far are you willing to push your designs?
Jeremy Scott: The only box I’m in is a shoebox. [I’m willing to push my designs] as far as necessary. That’s my challenge every time—to push the boundaries, the borders, doing what you feel is right. It’s very easy to make something absurd. I don’t know if people think about that sometimes. I know sometimes people are like “whoa,” like what I’m doing is crazy. It’s not for everyone—there’s
The only box I’m in is a shoebox.
enough stuff in the world that is for everyone, so I don’t need to fill that role. I have a special role and this is mine, so at the same I take what I do deadly serious. I spend my life, all of my waking hours working and thinking and trying to perfect and create new ideas.
There is a balancing act about it, but generally I’ve learned a while back to never wait for myself to be ready. For a while, I was always playing catch up. I was kind of scared to embrace it ‘cause the ideas sometimes are surprising even for myself if other people think it’s surprising. Well hells bells the ding-dongs on my door, and it can still be, but now I’ve gotten really good at embracing it immediately. Because I used to be like, “ooh is this too much?” ‘Cause I don’t feel that way anymore, because I’ve corrected that. I used to be, “oh well, maybe I’m not sure I can do that yet.” Now I kind of go a little more head on.
Do you think your confidence level has gotten stronger?
Absolutely. As an artist, you go through different phases—even the way the design changes and the routes to get there. I sometimes purposely change it to try to see what the difference of the results are ‘cause it’s not only always the end product, but it’s also the process which is very important and can lead so many different ways. It’s kind of a “choose your own adventure,” the way you start out, you’re not sure the way it’s going to go ‘cause you’re kind of manipulating and molding it, putting things together.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of people. Have you ever been told your designs were too crazy by a brand you’ve worked with?
Everyone that I work with has come to me because of wanting the pure essence of what I do. So actually, I don’t really ever have that issue. I don’t think I could work under that circumstance because I think that there has to be the mutual; if I’m going to agree to do this, I’m going to do this because I have a love and respect for the brand I’m working with and at the same time, they should have the trust and love and respect that what I’ll do is the right thing.
What’s more important to you; being able to do whatever you want or seeing people embrace what you do?
Wow, that is actually one of the most unique questions anyone’s ever asked me and nobody has
People are going to love things when I’m being my purest, when the light is shining the most.
ever asked it—everyone usually asks the same bullshit questions. I’ve never thought about that. I think freedom, I really would have to say, because it is so huge to me to have freedom; for my own brand and when I do have to do things that become more collaborative. I don’t do a lot of film work but things in Hollywood are much more collaborative sometimes, and too much of it I feel a little bit like, “okay I’m done with this.” I have such a completely strong persona and vision and world that sometimes in that sense, it’s kind of like it’s only good when people want to couple with that world, I’m not exactly water through cracks. Of course I love when people love it, but I also found that people are going to love things when I’m being my purest, when the light is shining the most. Anytime I try to dull that light or dim it for whatever reason, even things that I think are right for some reason, usually, it just doesn’t, it’s the things that fall to the max.
Is it more fulfilling to be co-signed by other celebrities or other designers?
I’ve had them both so I don’t know, I don’t know what to say. I’ve had it both, it’s an interesting question of course. It’s the people out there wearing it and then the people that are doing the same job. I’ve been very blessed to have so many and from early on, obviously Mr. Lagerfeld being one of the ones that I was so, even shocked and surprised like I never would have thought that this would be someone I’d be friends with, like “whoa.” Then to have not only become friends with him but have him champion me so fully and let me into his world and be like let me see how he works and party to that and do photo-shoots with him and things that I never expected when I was in school thinking about fashion.
What did it mean to you when Karl said that you were the only one who could take over his spot at Chanel?
It’s so flattering. I mean again, the most iconic fashion designer of our time. This prolific supertalented megaman. It’s a huge compliment.
What have you learned from him?
A lot of things. One thing is don’t also be afraid if you want to do pictures and you want to do this, then do it, why not? Not let people put you in a box in that way.