Raf Simons SS2003 "Commodity" Sweater

Raf Simons SS2003 "Commodity" Sweater


Raf’s spring of 2003, titled “Consumed,” was the violent crash of a rising tide which began with AW2001 "Riot Riot Riot,” and continued with SS2002 “Woe Onto Those Who Spit on the Fear Generation…” and AW2002 “Virginia Creeper.” For this set of collections, Raf abandoned the upper class and their horror-by-insinuation in favor of the in-your-face-angst of the working class. This is the crucial shift between Raf’s first and second eras of work - the subtext became secondary to the immediate. Consumed was a culmination of such ideals, a dystopian cityscape in which the subtext to any imagery was dissolved into over-saturation, with models going so far as to being tattooed with brand logos.

In a deeper reading of the work, it further expounds upon themes of philosopher Marshall McLuhan, who famous declared in his paper “Understanding Media," the “the medium is the message.” In relation to art, he postulated that creative works could not be regimented into segments, but rather must be digested as an "instant sensory awareness of the whole.” He rallied against art critics, whom he believed insist upon breaking down artists into brush strokes, motifs, and other individual components. McLuhan elaborated that to compartmentalize an art work is to neglect the effect of how something is presented — the proverbial “medium” — a theory lent credence by Consumed, which when dissected into parts and symbols, becomes devoid of its intended effect. The isolated graphics, tattoos, and written words offer little clue to a broader meaning. It is only in their congregation that the work crystallizes, and becomes a harrowing sensory shock. 

This sweater extrapolates the idea of the immediate vs the subtext, with the phrase “Commodity” scribbled across it in numbing repetition, as if the wearer is presenting their physical being as a product itself. The silhouette is typical of this era of Raf, with raglan shoulders, a slim cut, and raw edges around the collar and hems.

Condition: 8/10. Small hole patched up on back right arm. 

Tagged size: 48

Shoulder: 21in

Pit to pit: 23in

Length: 27.5in

Sleeve: 34in (measured from neck)

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