As a graduate of the LUCA School of Arts, Raf Simons, a Belgian fashion designer, has been a trailblazer for contemporary fashion and luxury streetwear. Raf began researching menswear on his own and began his namesake brand, Raf Simons, in 1995. His early designs were a direct representation of his obsession with youth culture, rebellion, European punk music, and David Bowie. Raf’s work in the 90s and early 2000s established himself as a borderline cult-leader in fashion, as the audience always paid attention when something new came from the designer and his brand. Influenced heavily by the Antwerp 6+, Raf was able to curate and pave his own niche road in the fashion industry. He never deviated from his reference foundational pillars of youth culture, rebellion, music, and films. Everything was intentional and everything seemed effortless. That was the ethos that Raf created & upheld for decades of fashion and creative expression.
Raf Simons has also been a pioneer of collaborations and bridging entities on opposite sides of the cultural and artistic spectrum. From household names like Fred Perry, Brain Calvin, Adidas, Sterling Ruby, and the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Raf has always believed in the concept of taking two and making one. The result is an extensive portfolio of creative collections that will withstand the test of time and saturation. Along with his namesake brand, Raf Simons has also gotten several nods and co-signs from major fashion houses. In 2005, he was appointed to the creative director role at Jil Sander, establishing his first opportunity to create and showcase womenswear. After 7 years at Jil Sander, Raf continued his womenswear journey at Dior and dabbled with Haute-Couture in 2012. Raf’s time at Dior propelled his ethos as one of the titans of fashion design, as his minimalist tailoring complimented the incorporation of genuine emotion via artistic expressions. His three and a half tenure at Dior came to an end via resignation and Raf took his talents to Calvin Klein as their Chief Creative Officer. This was Raf’s first attempt at testing his American influence, as he began showing in New York City. Though his time at Calvin Klein was his shortest creative appointment, Raf was able to continue his journey of effortless intention and establish himself as one of the Godfathers of fashion design. In 2020, Raf joined Miuccia Prada’s Prada as a co-creative director and began showing in Milan in 2021. Not only was this appointment a full-circle moment for Raf, it was a moment of closure for fashion. Raf, who spent his entire fashion career poking at the status quo, continues to push the design limits with his forever young rebellious spirit. That is the true definition of a timeless legacy.
Writer: Art V.