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Moschino’s Jeremy Scott: "I don’t understand when people get upset by what I do"

There are so many serious things in the world, I just choose not to be one of them. Fashion is an ultimate luxury – I mean, you don’t need it – so it should bring you pleasure and make you happy. I don’t like the idea of people revering it. Fashion should have a transgressive nature; it can make you feel like someone else, give you heightened emotion. It should bring you joy and uplift you.

Jeremy Scott strikes a pose PR
Photograph: PR

No one likes being preached at; I don’t subscribe to that in any way. Designers have a reputation for setting the tone for what people – and especially women – are supposed to wear. How long their skirts should be, things like that. I have a different philosophy: put something out there with humour, let people see that and come around to it on their own. My job is to be a communicator. I think the use of iconography is powerful in conveying a clear message: visuals are more instant than words. An image of Mickey Mouse is understood in Mumbai, Timbuktu and Los Angeles in the same way. It’s a clear message even if you subvert it by, say, putting Mickey ears on an army helmet (as I did in 2007). People get it. You don’t need to know the exact thing that I was thinking, but you get the gist. I feel that makes something playful but also powerful.

‘I don’t have a uniform the way a lot of people in the industry do.’
Photograph: Randy Brooke/PR company handout

I’m also a firm believer in nostalgia. It’s a wonderful emotion to touch upon, the stuff that resonates from childhood and innocence and days gone by – toys, TV shows. A lot of my collections are informed by nostalgia. I think that’s because I loved clothes early on. I remember at maybe age five being concerned about what I wore right down to the underwear. I was very interested in the way clothing could make me feel like more than my normal self.

I still feel like that; I don’t have a uniform the way a lot of people in the industry do. It’s the oxymoron of fashion – it’s full of people who are set in their ways, the stylists who look at clothes all day long but have worn New Balance trainers for the last hundred years. I don’t do many social events in the fashion industry. Instead I go to things like the MTV awards because that’s where I fit in – wearing a yellow tuxedo and no shirt on a red carpet.

I still love getting compliments on how I look, too. I even love the people who don’t know how to give a proper compliment, the ones who say things like, “Wow, you’re colourful!” I mean, a comment like that just shows that your eyes work. I say thank you because I don’t know what else to say but, really, I should say thanks for the fact check.

A model walks the runway during the Moschino Ready-to-Wear show as part of Milan fashion week.
Photograph: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

I think Barbie and I are very similar in many respects. That’s why she made such a great muse for the summer Moschino collection. People see us as being divisive and imply that we’re promoting ideas that just aren’t there. I thought she was the perfect muse for a designer: she’s had every job imaginable and an outfit for every occasion, from day to evening, put together with real flair. While I worked on the collection, I was constantly tickled by thinking about what her iPhone case would look like, or her bathing suits.

But I didn’t forget that Barbie is a toy, she’s there to bring fun and you shouldn’t really look further into it. She doesn’t promote body dysmorphia, she’s a 12 inch-tall doll. People bring too much of an adult perspective to it. They do to all fashion, really. It’s just clothes and, above all, it’s a choice. Buy it or don’t – you don’t have to have a conniption fit about it. I don’t understand when people get upset by what I do. There’s a lot of fashion that I don’t respond to and I just walk on. I always look for things that make me happy and in my work all I’m doing is trying to convey that joy. Fashion should always be fun.

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