Excerpt from See.7, Fall 2010.
Your work has created controversy, particularly your post 9/11 collection “Brumaire Revisted” and again in 2007 with “Classe Dirigeant”. Was this on purpose? Do you feel that fashion can play the role of social agitator?
GS: I believe that fashion should be doing much more than it has so far, which up until now has basically been about selfishness, vanity and excess in the face of a world dying of hunger and lack of resources–sort of trying to create our own life as Marie Antoinette without paying the price in the end.
For years, as a player in the circuit and cog in the system, I felt like some of this had to be accepted. Now I don’t feel that way. I arrived at a point in life and career where I did not need the industry anymore to be able to continue my work. The controversy is on purpose if you think that when a designer fashion collection comes out and is based on a political or social issue that’s “controversial.” Many believe fashion is a commercial business not an Art, and therefore, designers should keep their mouths shut, and just keep pitching more rags that nobody really needs.
For over 3 decades, I have always fought that point of view. I believe someone who makes clothes for someone else can do far more than be just another prostitute of the great fashion rip-off of conspicuous and wasteful consumption.
Fashion reaches billions today in the world. Any artist with a potential audience of that size has an obligation to speak the truth, not lie about it, and to help make things better for people who need it, not just an elite few.
For me clothing is an Art form. And great art has always reflected the times it was created in. My clothes reflect their specific times and are tied to our human history and existence at the moment. I can’t help it, I work on them intensely, and every piece is a part of my life, my mind, and my expression—and the expression of the other great people who work with me on them.
UPDATE: Geoffrey announced a protest against nuclear proliferation to be held on Saturday, September 4 at the Venice Film Festival. Read the press release.