“Do you know Raf Simons? He’s a fucking genius!” This is what the teenage protagonist Fraser Wilson exclaims to a Venetian seamstress who doesn’t understand a word of English, and has no idea who Raf Simons is, in the first episode of Luca Guadagnino’s TV series We Are Who We Are (on Now TV). “I didn’t know about Guadagnino’s series until last night when the artist Brian Calvin texted me,” Raf Simons tells me from his home in Milan. “The main character is obsessed with my brand and wears this collaboration vintage T-shirt I did with Brian. It’s very much the topic of the first episode, to the point that the other teenagers don’t even call him by his name. They just call him Maglietta, or ‘T-shirt’.”That’s basically what we’re going to talk about, right?Yes, but before we start I need to add that looking at Guadagnino’s series was quite emotional for me because my father was in the army stationed on a US Air Force base in Belgium, close to the village where we were living. He was a night watchman, and for years he was also the school bus driver of the American pilots’ kids.The way you use youth culture is more existential than political. Not necessarily. I was thinking about youth culture for nearly half of the 20th century. Basically since I was born in 1968. I’m a kid of hippy parents, but for some reason I never touched hippy culture. Its aesthetics never interested me. But I looked at all the other manifestations of youth culture – new wave, punks, grungers – not only from an aesthetic point of view but also the principles they stood for. I think those principles are still relevant today and I see that young people still abide by them: sexual liberation, the no-gender issue, disagreement with the political establishment, ecological awareness and harmony with nature. All of this is very important to me and my creative process. I started to realise that the brand wasn’t only being picked up by young people but also by people with a young mindset, no matter what their age. So I feel that in a subtle way what I do has some political edge in terms of attitude. When you talk about a young mindset, you talk about your own mindset towards youth, in the past, present and future. I was always interested in this disconnection between generations, which is an important thing. I was attracted by the possibility of having a dialogue with other generations, either agreeing or disagreeing, questioning each other….