Kim Jones is one of the most recognizable and revered names in menswear today. Currently the artistic director of Dior Men and former men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton, a position he held for seven years, the English designer has been at the forefront of the movement that has continued to blend the worlds of luxury and streetwear. Jones’ latest work flips the script, putting the designer in front of the camera as one of the ambassadors for the brand new “Never Still” campaign with premium German luggage maker Rimowa.
“I never thought I’d ever be on a giant billboard,” Jones told Complex. “I don’t do my job to be famous. I do my job because I love my job.”
The campaign, which also features LeBron James and Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, is about the never-ending journey to build a personal legacy and the resilience required to keep moving forward. Jones’ portion focuses primarily on his travels to Japan and India and how they have inspired his work. “Everything I see has some form of inspiration,” Jones says in the campaign’s official short film. “So you’re taking things and then twisting them into something. And that’s how I work.”
We got a chance to speak with Jones about his relationship with the brand, how he likes to pack when he travels, his favorite areas around the world to visit, how they inspire his designs, and more.
What does the brand Rimowa mean to you?
To me, it’s just the best travel case maker in the world. It’s something I’ve known for years and years. They’re really the best at what they do. The aluminum cases are just cool looking and super functional. It’s the best at what it does and I’m always interested in that.
What was it like to work with a brand as renowned as Rimowa?
Pretty much, they approached me about a project. I know people from the brand. I keep in touch with them. I’ve had great experiences. I always use their products so it was an easy “yes.” I travel for two things. I travel for business and to escape from what I do in my daily routine because my daily routine is quite intense. I like to be in nature. So, we discussed some ideas about how we could do this and they came up with the idea to do the campaign.
You travel all around the world. What is your usual packing situation like?
I travel quite light. I buy multiples of everything l like. If I go somewhere, like Japan for example, I know I’m going to come back with lots of shopping. I tend to ship stuff like that and only take my essentials: my core wardrobe and things I need for work like my iPad, iPhone, pens, note pads, and printouts. I do all of my laundry on route. So, people might see me and say, “Oh, he wears the same thing all the time,” but I probably have 10 to 15 of each thing. For me, I have a uniform because I think about clothes all the time.
I have a couple of watches I like, a few pairs of shoes I like, all of my Apple stuff. I only travel with hand luggage. I don’t like waiting in airports. I love traveling, but I’m not particularly a great fan of airports. So, I make check-in as easy as possible for myself.
What’s one thing you feel like you can’t travel without?
Music. For me, I like to listen to music when I’m traveling. It always keeps me going. It always gets me inspired. I love AirPods, so I always keep a few pairs of them with me that are charged up. I carry multiple battery packs for phones because I always hate them running out. It’s just stuff that helps me remain functional. If I’m in Japan or L.AI’ll wake up a few times in the middle of the night to check e-mails because of the time differences. You’re so far away from everything else. I like to always know what’s going on, in terms of work. I think that’s very important.
Traveling seems to be a big inspiration to you in a lot of your work. What is your favorite place to travel and why?
My favorite place to travel is somewhere in nature. My favorite travel is not for work. It’s for my personal time off. When I do a collection, I tend to go somewhere in the middle of nowhere and take everything out of my head to start thinking about what I want to do next. So, being away from everything is a really great way to do that. I love traveling and seeing new things. At Dior, it’s not so much a reference point for the designs. It’s more that I just like to learn about the markets we are in. I’m still learning a lot about the company. With Louis Vuitton, it was very much about looking at places where one of the people who bought one of the first trunks went and using that as a reference point to start a collection. Then, we would go there to get as much information as possible because it was a luxury leather goods brand specializing in travel. For me, that was logical.
You are a big collector. Are you always searching for new things, or do you pick and choose when you decide to look for things?
I’m quite fussy. I’m quite specific about what I like. Some places I know I’m going to just have a nice time and that’s great. The memories, taking photos. Other places, I’ll go specifically to look for stuff. It really depends on where it is. When I go on safari it is to get away from everything, but I’ll go somewhere specifically to buy stuff. I like collecting traditional costumes, or just really for my personal collection of clothing. Those are things I’ll get at auctions at places that are quite hard to find.
You’re used to seeing your designs on billboards all around the world. What was it like to see yourself on the billboards this time as a part of the campaign?
I find it quite crazy, but I find it quite complimentary that they asked me to do it. There’s one in London I saw the other day and that was pretty insane to see how huge it was in an area I know my friends will see it. It was kind of nice to see all the pictures people I know sent me of it. I never thought I’d ever be on a giant billboard. So, it’s quite fun I guess, isn’t it? I don’t do my job to be famous. I do my job because I love my job. It’s just a very fun, exciting thing to do. It’s a neat thing for me. I thought it was quite cool. It’s quite out of body. Within, the last year my profile has gotten more visible. I don’t know. It makes me feel good about myself. I think it’s quite nice.