Graduated in industrial design, Raf Simons
started working as a furniture designer for galleries and private interiors.
In a radical change of profession, he became a self-trained menswear fashion designer in 1995
and started his own company
Although impeccably cut and created with love and care, clothes are not at the core of Raf
Simons’ universe. More important are attitudes, moods and statements. This
is why music, art, performance, images and words have an important role in the whole package. Together with the clothes, those elements sum up, or rather clarify the kind of world Raf Simons wants to project. In an attempt to examine today’s men’s and boys’ psyches (and in the same take his own), he takes his inspiration from the rebellion of past and present youth cultures and blends this with notions of tradition and roots
The most important message Raf Simons wants to communicate is "pride in individuality". No wonder then he has often voiced his concern about the rigid and dictatorial stance of the mainstream fashion system. His clothes are both inspired by and designed for confident outsiders. His references to youth movements (punk, goth, mod, etc.) are not meant to be retro; instead Raf Simons tries to translate their energy and determination into modern statements about mental independence
He has many ways to avoid the trappings of the fashion system, most notably his choice of models. Disagreeing with the common images of male beauty and identity forwarded by most fashion magazines and advertising, Raf Simons from the start of his career only used non-professional modelsin
his shows, often scouted on the streets of Antwerp or other Belgian villages
Raf Simons’ aesthetics have proven highly influential. He’s being cited as one of the most important innovators of menswear by the international press. His clothes are available in shops around Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the USA and Russia. Equally important to him are the collaborations he enjoyed with like-minded people from other creative fields. In 1999, he designed the men’s line for the Italian company Ruffo Research
Following his Spring/Summer 2000 collection, he published a book (Isolated Heroes) of images acclaimed photographer David Sims made of his work.
He taught fashion at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (Austria) since October 2000,
and acted as a consultant/buyer to a private Antwerp art collector since 2000
won the Swiss Textiles Award (Gwand Fashion Festival) in 2003,
and the Swiss Textiles Award, Lucerne (Switzerland) in 2004
"I don’t want to show my clothes. I want to show my attitude. My past, present, and future."
He lives and works in Antwerp (Belgium), where his studio is based, and continues to produce menswear, besides extra-curricular projects in the art field