Raf Simons Announces the Closure of His Eponymous Label

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All clothing and accessories by Raf Simons. From left: Kiki and Jonas are wearing a wool peacoat from the Autumn/Winter 2019 collection. Jonas is wearing his own necklace (throughout)Photography by Willy Vanderperre, Styling by Olivier Rizzo

Taking to Instagram, the Belgian-born designer shares his namesake label is coming to an end, leaving behind echoes of speculation about what might be coming next

Yesterday evening, Belgian designer Raf Simons announced via Instagram that he is shuttering his eponymous label after almost three decades. “I lack the words to share how proud I am of all that we have achieved,“ the designer wrote on Instagram. “I am grateful for the incredible support from my team, from my collaborators, from the press and buyers, from my friends and family, and from our devoted fans and loyal followers. Thank you all, for believing in our vision and for believing in me.”

The news means that his Spring/Summer 2023 presentation – held last month in south-east London’s iconic Printworks venue – was his last ever show. ”This Simons show was a celebration of that, of our bodies, of youth, of dancing. Of the serotonin rush from letting go, and indulging yourself in pleasure. It’s needed sometimes – indeed, it does a body good,” wrote Alexander Fury of the show.

The news offers a chance to take stock of his final, euphoric show, which hosted 1,000 guests (many of whom were art students) to see his designs amidst pumping music and huddled crowds. Throughout Simons’ career, it’s been youth culture and rebellion – and the music that young people listen to – that he’s held dear. His first collections in the 1990s were presented via videotapes and featured young, street-cast models donning his designs. Since then, he has melded motifs and paraphernalia, album artwork and and film stills from grungy, teen-spirited cultural moments, compounding and incorporating them into intuitive, sensually cut clothing.

Prior to his career in fashion, Simons earned a degree in Industrial Design and Furniture Design from the LUCA School of Arts in Genk – in part spurring his recent interiors collection with Kvadrat – and also interned at the design studio of Antwerp Six designer Walter Van Beirendonck. 

Revered by the fashion press early on for his explorations of masculinity, taste and politics, in 2005 Simons was appointed as creative director of Jil Sander, designing sensitive, minimalist womenswear for the first time. Later in 2012, Simons succeeded John Galliano at the helm of Dior womenswear, designing ready-to-wear and haute couture. The seminal 2014 documentary Dior and I traced the designer’s creative process at the house during a time of intense pressure and stress. Since, Simons has commented on the unmanageable speed of the industry, with reference to the churning out of collections at a rapid pace. 

The announcement has spurred an outpouring of support on Instagram from the likes of Willy Vanderperre, Pieter Mulier and more. No reason for the closure has been announced, though there is speculation that he will be funnelling his time into his co-creative directorship at Prada, alongside Miuccia Prada.