Born on Sept. 27, 1985 in Cesena, Italy, he saw a sense of art in everything. Once studying to become a graphic designer, he felt unfulfilled by the creative outlet it provided. So, in search for more, he began designing his first line of accessories. Made from an array of upholstery fabric, it was love at first sight. Now, well into his eighth year of creating collections, it’s been one wild ride where he curates every detail, personally mixing and producing soundtracks and videos into his creative canvas of thought. Essential, he says, for him to create something which is truly personal.
1.) Before becoming a fashion designer, you studied graphic design. Tell us why you changed career paths and how you came to be in fashion.
As my first job, I was a graphic and pattern designer for a fashion firm which worked for the most prestigious brands. It wasn’t long before I came in contact with fashion. I started experimenting with my own creations when I was still working for that firm. At some point, though, I felt the urge to express what I was feeling by designing collections.
2.) In the past, you’ve collaborated with Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts, London (UAL). Can you give us some insight into the projects?
I worked in collaboration with a few stylists-to-be during their short summer courses, creating a collection on which they would experiment in fashion editorials. I had the chance to see and understand the reality of one of the most famous fashion schools in the world.
3.) When starting a new collection, where do you turn to for inspiration?
I take inspiration from what surrounds me, especially the people I meet. I like to investigate and to find interesting elements by digging into people’s lives. I get inspired by different kinds of characters, the emotions I feel in certain situations, my neighbor’s extravagant style, the outfit on the woman at the bus stop who I don’t know anything about. My past is always the foundation for my mood boards. My collections are made up of 70% of my memories, experiences and family members that I want to stitch together into a canvas that will last forever. I think of my collections as pages of my own personal diary that everyone can leaf through and that will continue to be written until the last day of my life.
4.) Your birth name is Simone Botte. How did the name Simon Cracker come about and what are you trying to say through your work?
I’ve heard this question so many times before! Since kindergarten, everyone has always called me Simon. Cracker is my concept. I love food, I love crackers. But that is another story. I always found that this concept, the Japanese cracker, reflected the vision I had of my collections. It can be savory, sweet, bitter, pungent, sour or flaming hot with Wasabi. I want my line to be like this: masculine, feminine, unisex, one-size, delicate, exciting, ironic, pungent, offensive and aggressive when it needs to. Versatile. In the literal sense of the word, not just to refer to it that way. It’s not a new concept. Many are trying to adapt this formula and I’m happy about it, I just hope it becomes the “new normal.”
5.) In 2010, you launched Simon Cracker during Paris Fashion Week. How did it go? Did it meet or exceed your expectations? What did you do to prepare?
In 2010, I was selected among the new talents during Paris Fashion Week. I wanted to get noticed outside of Italy. At the time, the collection wasn’t fully matured. It didn’t fully reflect what I was feeling inside because I was still afraid of the market, of sale-ability and of the crisis. But, I got the results I was looking for. In 2010, I started selling to Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong and a few European cities.
6.) What was your inspiration for the debut collection and how did the idea come about?
I debuted with a collection which took inspiration from women who need to keep up a certain image. But, deep down, they’re hiding an explosive, transgressive personality. So, I envisioned a punk boy dressed up as a bon ton man, with tulle, chains and hearts. In my mood board, I had featured items from the movie “8 femmes,” mysteries hidden by cheesy songs, secret love stories and complicity.
7.) In three (3) words, please describe your ideal customer. Who wears SC and what does it mean to them? Then, give us three (3) words to describe your creative style.
My ideal customer? Extravagant, courageous, confident. I see my pieces on many kinds of people and that warms my heart. I don’t wanna tie myself to a certain age range or a specific genre.
My style? Emotional, shameless and provocative.
8.) Apart from being a fashion designer, you’ve been a stylist and editor for brands and magazines like Cup Magazine, Man in Town, Lampoon, Moh Magazine, Jo No Fui, Who’s Who, Mariú De Sica, MSGM, Vivetta, Stella Jean and Sergio Rossi. How do the two interplay with one another. Which do like better? Why?
I like working for other people, this keeps me grounded and it allows me to give away something of my own. Everyone works in a different way and I love to see how the same result can be reached following different paths. I’m gonna keep working on many projects with other designers until the others will understand my point of view.
9.) You’ve also worked as an editor of Moh Magazine. Can you give us some insight into the concept behind it and your role there? Does it influence your fashion design or vice versa?
Moh Magazine is a project born when I was really young. When I look at the first issues, I see how the magazine has matured, like I did. I’ve always kept the two projects separated. On a few occasions,they collided, but things need to be kept apart to stay in order.
10.) Your latest collection is entitled “Simon Cracker Destroy Bivio” and features a selection of items embellished with graffiti style art. Illustrate for us your creative process behind its conception and tell us how the collection got its name and where it got its influences.
“Simon Cracker Destroy Bivio” is a sustainable capsule collection, designed for a shop chain here in Milan. It’s destruction seen in its most positive sense: destroying to give life to something new. I took old collections from Bivio and I destroyed them, then re-interpreted them, with no gender, no size and no category. I wanted to start from nothing to create something chaotic that would create confusion, that would force those who were looking at it to play with the various items.
11.) Lastly, what kind of projects do you have planned for the future? Where can we shop your collections?
Future projects … a kid’s line is coming. But I can’t say any more. Regarding the “Cracker Shopping,” besides my sellers, people can find my items on www.simoncracker.strickingly.com. A line that is having a lot of success is my “remake” line, with limited editions and “destruction” of other brands that I even sell on Instagram, much to my astonishment.