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Born in Belgium in 1968, Simons studied industrial design in Genk. Inspired by the work of designers such as Martin Margiela, he moved to Antwerp, where the head of the Fashion Department at the city’s Royal Academy encouraged him to start his own label without further study.
Launched in 1995, Raf Simons menswear—informed both by classic tailoring and youth culture—had a huge impact on the style of the decade.
In 2005 Simons became artistic director of the Jil Sander label, which under his tenure became known for its vital, sophisticated modernism.
In 2012 he was named creative director of Dior Women, a position that he held until late in 2015. During his time as Chief Creative Officer of American fashion label Calvin Klein from 2016 to 2018, he has been awarded Designer of the Year 2017 for both his Menswear and Womenswear collections and for his Womenswear collection in 2018.
In April 2020, Raf Simons joined the Prada brand as Co-Creative Director, working in partnership with Miuccia Prada.
The first Kvadrat/Raf Simons collection received its public debut in January 2014, in an appropriately fashionable setting when textiles from the collection were used in Raf Simons’ menswear collection. He has worked closely with the Danish textile manufacturer since to release fabric collections for upholstery, cushions, and throws, distinguished by the innovative blending of colour and materials for which Raf Simons is known in the fashion world.
A passionate collector of contemporary art and modern design, Simons’ aesthetic is often informed by his admiration for art and he regularly engages in interdisciplinary collaborations.