Fashion Icon: Raf Simons

Raf Simons is a fashion designer born January 12, 1968 in Neerpelt, Belgium. As a teen he was influenced by electronic, new wave, and post-punk music like Kraftwerk and Joy Division. Originally, Simons went to school for industrial and furniture design but then after a trip to Paris Fashion Week, he decided to make clothing.

One of the most prolific menswear designers of recent years, Simons is responsible for much of the changes in men’s fashion in the 1990’s. For instance, the suits were often cut smaller in the shoulders and eventually, with Helmut Lang brought about a resurgence of skinny suits. Perhaps Simons’ furniture background gave him the inspiration to change the silhouette of the modern man.

Simons’ shows are described as dark, brooding, and aggressive, unlike the more sensitive and romantic man behind the show. Raf is said to be more reserved and emotional rather than garish or stern, which may explain why he was recently made head of the house of Dior following John Galliano’s anti-sematic remarks. Raf also helped revitalize Jil Sanders before his new position as artistic director with the legendary fashion house.

“I don’t think it’s wrong to call me a minimalist. It’s wrong to call me a minimalist only, I am also a romantic person”

As part of his new job at Dior, Raf debuted a more classic shape, a modernized version of the house’s very beginnings, only with a modern edge. Don’t let the prestigious title fool you though, Simons is rumored to be working with rapper Asap Rocky on creating a line called RAF 1995 x A$AP. It’s not surprise that Simons has also delved into the realm of street style, designing high-priced sneakers and other urban looking pieces. He stated in several interviews that part of his inspiration came from things like punk records and the local techno rave scene, so it’s almost obvious that he has an affinity with these subcultures.