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It is well known that Martin Margiela is a man of few words and almost total anonymity. But a few days ago, at the Belgian Fashion Awards, the discreet designer showed up when he received the grand prize of the evening.

Martin Margiela

Martin Margiela

Awarded the Jury Prize award for “his entire career and his obvious impact on the history of fashion, today’s collections, and more than likely the ones to come”, Margiela reacted with a letter – obviously he wasn’t going to appear -.

At a time when fashion is flying, seasons are already capsules and social media are accelerating the evolution of trends at unsuspected speeds, M. Margiela showed his discontent.

“I am very touched and indeed honoured to receive this award, here in my native country. Especially because I stepped down from fashion already ten years ago,” the letter read. “This evening my memory goes back to 1983 when I received, here in Brussels, my very first recognition: the second prize of the ‘Golden Spindle’ contest, handed to me by the then only foreign jury member, Jean Paul Gaultier.”

Maison Martin Margiela SS96 (Izq.) | Hermès AW 99 (Drch.)

Maison Martin Margiela SS96 (Left) | Hermès AW 99 (Right)

Margiela took the opportunity to detail the reason why he moved away from his brand of the same name in 2008, citing, like many designers before him, the fast fashion rhythm and the rise of social media as an enormous pressure on his creative production.

“I felt that I could not cope any more with the worldwide increasing pressure and the overgrowing demands of trade,” he wrote. “I also regretted the overdose of information carried by social media, destroying the ‘thrill of wait’ and cancelling every effect of surprise, which was so fundamental for me.”

A letter that invites reflection and undoubtedly calls into question the new system of fashion turned into a simple business increasingly removed from the art that a few years ago embraced.

Here you have the complete letter:

“I am very touched and indeed honoured to receive this award, here in my native country.

Especially because I stepped down from fashion already ten years ago.

This evening, my memory goes back to 1983 when I received, here in Brussels, my very first recognition: the second prize of the ‘Golden Spindle’ contest, handed to me by the then only foreign jury member, Jean Paul Gaultier.

Many say that fashion has a short memory as it is obsessed by actuality and novelty. But some recent exhibitions about my work exemplified the opposite. Again, my homeland Belgium was the first to honour my work at the MOMU Antwerp, and then my adoptive city Paris followed with two more, at Palais Galliera and Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

A beautiful tribute to a period of hard work and dedication starting at early age and lasting for more than 30 years, until 2008 – the very year I felt that I could not cope any more with the worldwide increasing pressure and the overgrowing demands of trade. I also regretted the overdose of information carried by social media, destroying the ‘thrill of wait’ and cancelling every effect of surprise, so fundamental for me.

But today, I am happy to notice again a growing interest for creativity in fashion, by some upcoming designers.

This evening, I feel proud and fulfilled and I wish to thank wholeheartedly all of you for your precious support back then and today’s recognition.”