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Marc Jacobs: “I don't know what the key to happiness is”

January 18, 2012

Mr. Jacobs, how would you describe your ultimate goal as a designer?

To make nice things and to get them out there so people can enjoy them.

Are designers selling an image more than clothes nowadays?

No, I don’t think so. Different people buy for different reasons, but I don’t think we are selling an image. I think we are selling products and those products have some kind of intrinsic integrity or some sort of aesthetic or sensibility. Whether it is a t-shirt or whether it is a party-dress, the approach to them is exactly the same: it is something we wanted to make. So I don’t really think we are selling an image. People can buy for whatever reason they want but we are basically just involved in the making of things.

Yves Saint Laurent said in his farewell speech: “I now understand that the most important encounter in life is the encounter with oneself.” Have you reached that moment yet?

I feel I know myself pretty well at this point. I am still open-minded and still kind of curious and have a wonder about things, but I feel quite strong as a person and I’ve developed a certain confidence and a certain self-awareness. It doesn’t make life easy all the time, but it gives me a certain strength that perhaps took a long time to develop.

Is success a key to happiness?

I don’t know, I don’t know what the key to happiness is. Happy is just a feeling like every other feeling. I certainly feel happy some days and in general I am pretty happy, but I have all the other feelings as well. So I don’t know if there is a key. Maybe the Buddhists have it right where they just sort of honor all feelings and just go with the flow. And then I think you have no problems.

Can success and constant flattery be distracting?

Well, I just do my job. I’m not really distracted by it. Nice things are very nice to hear and it is flattering when one is given some kind of recognition, but none of that distracts me from what my job is, what it has always been: to make things. And honestly, no matter how flattering or even un-flattering something is, it doesn’t prevent me from getting up and going to work and doing what I love to do.

You have made a huge transformation in your image over the past 6 years. Was getting physically in shape a necessity in order to achieve the image you thought was the best for you and your brand?

No, I didn’t do it for the image. I did it for health reasons. I was really very weak. I had been working very hard and I had some stomach problems, so I saw a nutritionist and he recommended that I go to the gym and change my diet and all of that.

Has it been a new feeling for you?

Of course. I liked the results on a lot of levels. I felt better, I felt stronger and I think I also gained a lot of confidence with the physical transformation I made. One thing just led to another and I feel that I live a happier and richer life since I’ve been taking care of myself.

There are no exceptions?

With the exception of smoking cigarettes. But besides that I take pretty good care of myself. I enjoy it.

Besides looking into the mirror, what else do you enjoy more now on a day to day basis?

It’s funny: I enjoy clothing more, I enjoy getting my haircut, I enjoy grooming. In a way it kind of helped me to understand more of what the customer sees in terms of fashion. I got to appreciate it more from a first hand point of view. I like to shop, for example, which I never did before.

What about other people’s perception of you, has that changed as well?

It certainly changed a lot of people’s perspectives. Some people say that they liked me better the way I used to be, but those people don’t really know me so they don’t know that I am exactly the same person and I just look different. But I just feel stronger and better.

Is it hard to keep it up?

I love going to the gym, I love exercising – it helps me sleep better. I feel much more secure with my body and in some ways I can relate more to the joys a woman gets in terms of taking care of herself.

Like how?

Now I get up early in the morning and I really enjoy getting dressed and putting lotions on my skin and getting manicures – all those things. It’s a joy, it is really nice. I like beautiful environments. I like to eat well. I think I gained an appreciation for things that I had taken for granted. I just thought that I had to be in the office and that I had to work all the time but now I enjoy so much more than just working. It is the pure result of taking care of myself.

What did your start to the day look like before?

You know, it used to take me five minutes to get in and out of the bathroom. I would get in the shower, get out of the shower and put on the same clothes every day and I didn’t care.

Would you say that people are generally more into nice things like fashion than they used to be?

It has probably escalated like everything. In this day and age information is more readily available and just like people who are sports fans or music fans, there are lots of fashion fans today. There are lots of people who want to be touched or they want to possess some part of the fashion experience. That creates a kind of excitement and maybe it is on a bigger scale now than it was 20 years ago.

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Short Profile

Name: Marc Jacobs
DOB: 9 April 1963
Place of Birth: New York, New York, U.S.A.
Occupation: Fashion Designer

April 9, 1963 April 9, 1963

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8 Responses to this Interview

  1. I love his mind. His self-awareness and depth.

  2. And, thank you for this site and for your interviews. It shows another side to the people I admire (such as Marc) that rarely get portrayed in glossy media.

  3. Marc Jacobs is a very cruel man. He steals all his ideas for his collections and campaigns from a young fashion designer, called Angel Barta.

  4. Fantastic.

  5. I enjoyed so much reading this interview. Agreed: the more you care for yourself, the more happier, stronger and healthier you are. And that is what Mr. Jacobs projects.

  6. Brilliant !! Clean , crisp and honest !! A glimpse at the very down to earth side of one of the creative geniuses of our times.

  7. He is my idol

  8. i prefered the long hair jacobs…the creative freak.

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