Raf Simons’ ‘Teenage Summer Camp’ is a series of photos that capture the aesthetic of the designer’s S/S collection (1997). Taken during the shooting of the video RAF SIMONS summer ’97 by Ronald Stoops, the photographs of the catalogue show “a band of teenagers who run out of school and finally come together in an imaginary kind of U.F.O., an environment created by themselves where they can please their fantasies in contrast with their daily life and habitual things such as school, parents, etc.” A perfect reference to the naive bloom of youth.
The photos of the book were also shot by Ronald Stoops. Inspired perhaps by Joseph Szabo, this is as close as fashion photography gets to the real thing. It almost is the real thing, like the teens didn’t know they were being photographed and just grabbed random things from their closets. Raf shoots in the late nineties are now the reference. Franky Claeys also helped in this project, as he told us in the interview we did to him, “I had several ‘side’ jobs one of which was photography assistant for Ronald Stoops. It was there I met raf simons. He was complaining about the fact he couldn’t find anyone who knew how to design a record sleeve for his teenage summer camp collection (ss 1997). I pointed out I had done that already and that it was dead easy.”
The silhouette is tight and close to the body, inspired by the Mods and the Punks in combination with schoolboys and surf boys. The materials are classical combined with vivid colours. They look old and washed off. The most recognisable clothes from this collection are trash t-shirts with prints and shirts embroidered with ‘Teenage Summer Camp’”.
This video was presented alongside the collection in a showroom decorated with three large pictures taken from the video, and with 25 seventies style Plexiglas photo-cubes with photos of the teenagers. We have to thank @yourfashionarchive for giving us the opportunity to watch the video, as it was only distributed to F&F in a VHS format. He also wrote the following description:
Raf Simons Spring Summer 1997 collection was debuted as a montage set to his favorite electro songs. University students are seen running around the city misbehaving in head-to-toe Raf Simons. They all reconvene at a beacon where a sci-fi element comes into play as all the kids circle as if getting ready to transcend into the cosmos. As they wait to spiritualize, the viewer gets a better look at the outfits. The last shot of the collection is the kids spinning around at lightspeed until they disappear.
Written by Iñaki Alaba