Who is Raf Simons? A Fashion History

Raf Simons remains a big name in the sartorial world for his eponymous label as well as his contribution to some of fashion’s most coveted labels. Belgian born Raf has demonstrated his talents as creative director for the likes of Dior, Prada and Cavin Klein. Not only that, Raf has collaborated with big brands including adidas, Dr. Martens, Eastpak and more. Presenting different images of masculinity, his designs are fuelled by a combination of traditional design and rebellious youth cultures. From his beginnings to the fit of his footwear, here’s everything you need to know about Raf Simons.

Raf Simons at his SS20 runway show

Photo credit: Vogue Runway

#1 Raf Simons career

Born in 1986, Neerpelt Belgium, Raf’s talent for design was apparent from an early age. After graduating in industrial and furniture design, he started to work as a furniture designer for galleries and private interiors. It wasn’t until the head of the fashion department at Antwerp Royal Academy encouraged Raf to turn to fashion design that he became a self-trained menswear designer. In 1995 he launched his eponymous label Raf Simons.

After ten years of experience designing for his label as well as becoming head professor of the fashion department at The University of Applied Arts in Vienna, in 2005 Raf is named Creative Director at Jil Sander.

In 2012 Raf Simons is nominated Artistic Director of Christian Dior in Haute Couture, ready-to-wear and accessories until October 2015 when he resigned from the position. In 2016 Raf became Chief Creative Officer at Calvin Klein where his work was recognised for both womenswear and menswear, winning the Designer of the Year at the CFDA Fashion Awards.

In April 2020 Raf Simons made a huge move in his career to join Prada as Co-creative director working in equal partnership with Miuccia Prada. The backdrop to the pairs first Prada show was an empty auditorium filled with cameras to allow viewers to get a detailed view of the clothes as it was streamed online. The SS21 collection was walked by models making their runway debuts, in a very appropriate metaphor for new beginnings.

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#2 Raf Simons collaborations

As well as working in creative roles at luxury labels like the above, Raf is an advocate for partnering with other brands on creative collaborations. With the Raf Simons label working together with a long list of luxury brands including a collaboration with adidas on a range of exclusive sneakers, Fred Perry on a series of polo shirts and Eastpak on a selection of backpacks.

Raf Simons


#3 How do Raf Simons shoes fit?

As well as ready-to-wear and accessories, the brand also features a selection of shoes and sneakers. With sports inspired designs with an urban edge, Raf Simons shoes have a distinct chunky silhouette and are crafted from premium materials for longevity in style and lifespan. All Raf footwear at Coggles fit true to size.

#4 Why is Raf Simons so popular?

If the long list of awards, desirable labels and musicians that Raf has collaborated with wasn’t enough to convince you of his talents, then take a look at some of his fans. With some of the biggest names in fashion and music regularly spotted wearing his designs as well as featuring in the front row of his shows. From Rihanna and Michael B. Jordan to Marion Cotillard and Charlize Theron Raf Simons has a huge following of talent who champion his designs.

Dior Front frow



Words by Emma Bowkett

Emma Bowkett

Emma Bowkett

Writer and expert