Raf Simons to close eponymous label after 27 years

Announced in an Instagram post, Belgian designer Raf Simons – one of fashion’s most influential figures – says that his S/S 2023 collection will be his last

Raf Simons models on runway
Raf Simons S/S 2023, which would be the designer’s last
(Image credit: Courtesy of Raf Simons)

After 27 years, Raf Simons will close his eponymous label, the Belgian designer announced in an Instagram post this evening. Founded in 1995, the cult Antwerp-based label melded the energy of youth and counter-cultural movements with a precise, minimalist approach to cut and silhouette; in the years since, Simons has continued the label alongside stints at Jil Sander, Dior and Calvin Klein. He is currently co-creative director of Prada alongside Miuccia Prada, a role he will continue.

The announcement marks his S/S 2023 show – a co-ed outing shown at London nightclub Printworks – as his final collection. ‘The Spring/Summer 2023 collection is the conclusion of an extraordinary 27-year journey and the final season of the Raf Simons brand,’ he wrote in the Instagram post. ‘I lack the words to share how proud I am of all that we have achieved. I am grateful for the incredible support from my team, from my collaborators, from the press team and buyers, and from our devoted fans and loyal followers.’

Indeed, Simons’ label has a cult following both inside and outside of the fashion industry, best evidenced by a thriving resale market of his most memorable designs (in 2020, in a project titled ‘Archive Redux’, he reissued 100 pieces from his archive). Collaboration was also at the heart of his process, working closely with Belgian compatriots photographer Willy Vanderperre, stylist Olivier Rizzo, and make-up artist Peter Philips throughout his career (each studied at Royal Academy Antwerp), while also working on collaborative projects with brands including Fred Perry, Kvadrat, Eastpak, Adidas and more. 

The Raf Simons studio also ushered in the careers of a new generation of designers who worked for the Antwerp-based label, including Pieter Mulier, current creative director of Alaïa, and Matthieu Blazy, current creative director of Bottega Veneta. Numerous other designers have cited his influence, and Simons also maintained close links with the art world; most memorably, he created an A/W 2014 collection with Sterling Ruby, whereby both Simons’ and the American artist’s name appeared in the label.

The designer’s final collection, which was titled ‘Corps, Coda’ and shown during London’s Frieze Week (see our fashion moments of Frieze Week 2022), looked towards the world of dance for inspiration. ‘The energy of dance, the impact of the body… a celebration,’ the notes described of the collection, which featured cut-off ballet tights, romper suits and sweaters that replicated the shape of an undone leotard. ‘Bare, spare, cut away, stripped back… a reduction to an essence, to essential form.’

Few could have predicted the blockbuster show – with over 1,000 attendees, including milliner Stephen Jones and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli – would be his last. ‘Forward always,’ the designer signed off.


Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.