As a new documentary chronicling the designer’s American dream hits theaters, we catch up with him to discuss his circle of pop star friends, the legacy of Moschino and watching your own life on film.
Jeremy Scott's collections are infamous for their preoccupation with Americana. From McDonald's phone cases to Barbie dresses and Coca-Cola sweaters, the designer draws from iconic brands with equal doses of irony and earnestness in the way only a boy from the midwest could. Scott arrived on the fashion scene in 1997 when he launched his label, immediately putting himself—and Los Angeles—on the fashion map. Despite his success, Jeremy's rise from Kansas City to preeminent pop culture designer has been a largely undocumented: until now. In the new documentary Jeremy Scott: The People's Designer, we learn his journey to success was no cake-walk. The film chronicles his obsession with fashion, from his attempts to break into the notoriously exclusive Parisian couture world, to landing his dream job as creative director at Moschino and Hollywood's obsession with his splashy label. i-D caught up with the designer to discuss his life on film.
The documentary begins in Kansas and follows you to your present role at Moschino. Was watching your life on screen a particularly emotional or cathartic experience?
I never set out to do a film about my life, I thought of it as a film about my work. So I was surprised, watching the final cut, that it's as much about who I was as a kid and who I am today. As it's a documentary, not a scripted film, there are things I say that I wish I'd said better. At times I cringe at how I look, but what I think makes it all ok is that I feel my message rings true from the film. If it that touches the viewer, then that's the most important result the film can have.
Jeremy Scott: The People's Designer - Official Trailer (HD)
The film doesn't shy away from star cameos. Everyone from A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, Kanye and Suzy Menkes pop up. Many of these icons appear to be people with whom you share a deep bond. Are most people featured in the film friends?
The celebrities in the film are there because they are a real part of my life. They're not only people I work with, they are people I've shared heartbreaks with, as well as career milestones. One thing people don't think about is that Rihanna, Katy, Miley, Kanye and Rocky all started their careers after I had already created a name. I worked with most of them from the very start of their careers.
What boundaries and parameters did you agree to before photography commenced?
They followed me for almost two years but it wasn't like they were in my bedroom or in my kitchen in the morning. It was really more about when I was working—which is often—and already in groups of people. The most personal would be filming with my family, but I feel so comfortable with them that I don't think it was something that felt odd. This all being said, I agree the thought of being filmed all the time is frightening but I truly just forgot about them and did what I had to do as they kept the cameras rolling!
Jeremy Scott on the cover of i-D's 35th birthday issue.
What was the process of working to agree on the narrative and tone of the film? Were you involved in the editing process?
I did not have any real involvement with the editing. I only helped ensure that photos of me from the past were used to illustrate the corresponding moment in my life on film. From the time Vlad [the director] said to me that he was interested in showing my creativity through a film, I just let him do what he set out to do. I believe if you trust people, you have to completely trust them and let them do it!
As a pioneer of cross-brand collaboration, how do you feel about the culture of brands doing fast fashion and diffusion lines? Will we see you team up with the high street during your reign at Moschino?
I have done a lot of collaborations, especially my long time running collection with Adidas. The difference in what I have done with brands like Adidas, or even the baby stroller I recently launched with Cybex, is that I have partnered with a brand that is a specialist in something to be able to bring my creativity into another domain. From sneakers and athletic wear to strollers, the quality was never compromised in any of my products which is a very important element to me when partnering with a brand.
Photography Jeremy Scott
Is it possible to have a life outside of work? Between Moschino, Jeremy Scott, Adidas, traveling, meetings and fittings, I don't imagine there is much time to pick flowers and go on vacation?
I've truly never been interested in picking flowers! I enjoy what I do and I'm very grateful to have the opportunities that have been given to me. However I do travel a lot. This Christmas I actually decided to stay in California and do things very nearby. I went to an Ayurvedic spa to give my body a rest and to push restart for a new year.
Do you ever envision a chapter of your life that doesn't include the fashion business?
Honestly no, it's been part of my life and my interest for so long. Next year will be my 20 year anniversary of starting my line and creating my first collection. I still have so much I want to do and am still enjoying the work. I think that is the key to life—enjoy what you do because the true measure of success is happiness!
Words by Courtney D read the full interview up on i-D.