Jean Touitou's F/W 15 collection for A.P.C. made waves around the world. And not the good kind. His irresponsible use of racial slurs caused Timberland to pull its boot collaboration with the company almost immediately. He hasn't exactly gotten himself out of hot water recently either, with an Instagram from this past weekend (since edited) proving that, despite all the apologies, Jean isn't necessarily a changed man. GQ sat down with the designer to really dive into things to see what makes arguably fashion's least politically correct figure tick.
Keep in mind that this interview happened about a week and a half after the A.P.C. presentation, so it does a good job of framing his immediate state of mind, while, at the same time, lacking in real hindsight. Touitou is presented as a tortured individual who was caught up in the moment and sincerely sorry for overstepping his boundaries:
"My fault is my ignorance. Period. And this is why I apologize after, because I think I'm ignorant of a certain code"—he couldn't help but mention other instances of other people doing the same thing and getting away with it. "By the way, John Lennon, in '72, he was ignorant, too—" He continued to say, "I'm a freedom fighter. I think nothing else. And I understand that today's word is caught into some contradictions that I should have been more aware of. I'm surprising myself, because I've been around. But not enough, maybe."
But GQ also points out that Touitou, who is Jewish, isn't exactly the white-bred racist many think he is. When he was nine, his family moved from Tunisia to France, which even in the modern day isn't the most tolerant country of outside cultures. Touitou also mentions that the outrage surrounding his statements didn't affect the brand's sales, but still wants to prove himself going forward: "I can only answer with creativity, since with your own brain you cannot answer. It's like fighting a storm." But, then again, he literally just posted the aforementioned Instagram. It will be interesting to see how he acts moving forward.