Raf Simons is a well-known Belgian fashion designer and the former chief creative officer of the popular brand Calvin Klein. Simons was born in Neerpelt, Belgium. He studied at LUCA School of Arts, from where he graduated in industrial design and furniture design. He initially worked as a furniture designer for various galleries such as the one owned by Walter Van Beirendonck. His work took him to a Paris Fashion Week, where he got the inspiration to become a fashion designer. He launched his self-titled label in 1995. Since 2008, he has created numerous collections in collaboration with Fred Perry, a British brand. He has also collaborated with Linda Farrow for a sunglass collection. In 2016, he was announced the chief creative officer of the popular brand Calvin Klein.
Raf Simons began his career working as a furniture designer for various galleries. He also interned at the studio of Walter Van Beirendonck. His work took him to a fashion show named Paris Fashion Week in 1991. This inspired him to turn to a career in fashion designing. He was encouraged by Linda Loppa, who was the head of the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. Eventually, he produced his first collection of menswear in 1995, which marked the launch of the Raf Simons label. He closed his company in 2000 to take a vacation.
He then accepted a position as the head of the fashion department of Vienna’s University of Applied Arts. He held the position till 2005. Meanwhile, in 2001, he also reopened his company and in 2005, he added a second line of menswear named Raf by Raf Simons. In 2003, he received the Swiss Textiles Award and received materials worth 100,000 euros. In 2005, he was appointed the creative director of the Jil Sander label by its owner. During his tenure, he moved the brand aesthetic from an austere minimalism and expanded its commercial appeal.
Since 2008, he has been creating collections in collaboration with the British brand Fred Perry. He has also collaborated with Linda Farrow on a collection of sunglasses for the brand. He collaborated with Eastpak, an American bag manufacturer, as well.
It was announced in April 2012 that Simons would be replacing John Galliano, the creative director, at the helm of Dior. He didn’t get to design the menswear collections, however, as fellow Belgian designer Kris van Assche remained the creative director of Dior Homme. He eventually resigned from the post on 22nd October 2015, after three and a half years.
In August 2016, Calvin Klein announced that he was their new chief creative officer. He used to lead the creative strategy of the brand globally, across the Calvin Klein Collection. As part of his role as the chief creative officer, he also oversees all aspects of design, global marketing and communications.
He has published a few books as well, including ‘Isolated Heroes’ in 2000, ‘The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes’ in 2003, and ‘Raf Simons: Redux’ in 2005.
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Family & Personal Life
Raf Simons was born on 12th January 1968, in Neerpelt, Belgium. His father was Jacques Simons and his mother was Alda Beckers. He completed his education from the LUCA School of Arts.
Simons is currently believed to be single. In the past, he has dated Jean-Georges D’Orazio and Veronique Branquinho.