Raf Simons stops his eponymous label

Raf Simons at his Paris show in June 2019. (Image: Getty Images)

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After 27 years, the Belgian designer dissolves his own brand Raf Simons. Last October he showed the spring/summer 2023 collection in London. She will be the last of the label.

Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons announced on his Instagram profile on Monday evening that he would dissolve his eponymous label after 27 years. His spring/summer collection, which he showed during the Frieze art week in London, will be the brand’s last.

Raf Simons presented these in the British metropolis’ cult party venue, the Printworks – an empty, post-industrial newspaper printer. The designer created an atmosphere similar to that of Berlin’s Berghain. There were no invitations, anyone could come. The result was “a London explosion of youth, life, dancing and togetherness,” as Simons told Vogue. Clear lines, minimalist tailored jackets and skirts in combination with colorful leggings and bodysuits made of fine knitwear were shown.

The fashion roots of Raf Simons

Raf Simons will not completely disappear from the fashion scene. He will continue to design for Prada with Miuccia Prada. Since 2020, he has held the position of co-creative director. The Belgian has been known to the general public for some time. He made a name for himself as chief designer for the women’s and men’s collections of Jil Sander (2005 to 2011) and the women’s collection of Dior (2012 to 2015). From 2016 to 2018, Simons served as Calvin Klein’s chief creative officer, trying to give the brand a new, relevant image.

Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons at the 2018 Prada show. (Image: Getty Images)

Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons at the 2018 Prada show. (Image: Getty Images)

Born in 1968 in Neerpelt, Belgium, after initially studying industrial design and furniture design, he switched to the fashion world: the sparkling moment when he did an internship with designer Walter van Beirendonck is said to have been a fashion show by Martin Margiela in 1990. He was moved to tears by the collection, completely fascinated by what fashion could bring about, he told The Gentlewoman magazine at the time. From that moment on he knew that he also wanted to design clothes. Five years later, Simons presented his first men’s collection.

Fashionable avant-garde

From the very beginning, Raf Simons fashion was never for the masses. There was always youthful radicalism in his collections, combined with rebellion and being different. In the market, the label positioned itself in the corner of the fashionable avant-garde, with references to youth and subcultures, such as punk, goth or the masked aesthetic of riot movements – which sometimes came across as gloomy and anarchic.

Bomber jackets, holey hoodies and T-shirts from metal bands have always been Raf Simons’ style universe, well over 15 years before Demna Gvasalia revived Vetements’ rather dark look. In addition, slim and angular silhouettes contrast with lanky tailored suits, shown on youthful models. He likes to cast them outside the usual modeling agencies.

Raf Simons presented his spring/summer 2017 men's collection at the Pitti Uomo fashion fair in Florence.  (Image: PD)

Raf Simons presented his spring/summer 2017 men’s collection at the Pitti Uomo fashion fair in Florence. (Image: PD)

Raf Simons’ own label has always been seen as relevant and pioneering – at least in fashion circles, where the designer enjoys a high reputation: he always managed to give his designs something radical and intellectual, and at the same time something sensitive. With this, Simons has subtly shaped men’s fashion over the past twenty years.

On social media, designers such as Pieter Mulier, creative director at Alaïa, and Matthieu Blazy, chief designer at Bottega Veneta, congratulated him on his 27-year career.

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