Raf Simons, bomber jackets, and collab with a 19th-century painter

Raf Simons, bomber jackets, and collab with a 19th-century painter

You might have already heard that Raf Simons SS 2023 collection is the final one. The designer has announced he is closing his influential fashion label after 27 years. He was developing the brand while being the artistic director at Jil Sander, Dior, Calvin Klein, and Prada. The reasoning is unclear – Raf Simons didn’t explain his sudden decision, leaving the public wondering. Maybe the reason is that it’s been difficult to work at several brands all at once. Maybe it’s because the brand has become unprofitable. But despite the brand closing, Raf Simons is not leaving the fashion scene – he is going to focus on his role at Prada, and as early as January 2023 we’re going to see his new collection.

That being said, Raf Simons closing his fashion label is a good reason to tell you more about who Raf Simons is. He had a great influence on fashion, and homages to his designs can be seen in many other labels’ collections, like Balenciaga and Off-White. Keep scrolling!

Raf Simons is a Belgian fashion designer. He studied industrial and furniture design in Genk, Belgium, and then undertook an internship at the studio of Walter Van Beirendonck, one of the Antwerp Six, a highly influential fashion collective.

Raf Simons owes his career to Maison Martin Margiela. He got to see the brand’s fashion show and it inspired him to start his own fashion business.

Raf Simons has primarily been a menswear designer. He showed his first women’s collection in 2020.

In 2000, Raf Simons temporarily closed his company. Later he reopened the brand, and in 2004 he for the first time showed 6 women’s looks. A year later, he added the second line of menswear, Raf by Raf Simons, to the company.

Raf Simons was the artistic director at Jil Sander, Dior, Calvin Klein, and Prada.

Working at his eponymous brand, Raf has created a lot of iconic items. Many of them can be called “merch”. Keep scrolling!

The famous Nebraska sweatshirt was a part of the Virginia Creeper collection that was inspired by American college students. By the way, such college core clothes are very in style today. Virgil Abloh repeated the famous Nebraska sweatshirt for Off-White SS 2015 collection. He admitted that Raf Simons’s works are an infinite source of inspiration for him.

Demna Gvasalia has also repeated Raf Simons’s designs. Among Vetements items you can find oversized bombers with long sleeves and orange lining. However, these are not Demna’s innovation – it was Raf Simons who created similar bombers that looked like American military jackets. In SS 2000 collection Simons showed a black bomber jacket with a graphic pyramid image – the logo of the notorious Dutch DJ conglomerate called Rotterdam Terror Corps. Later, the item had become iconic.

The other iconic item and a bomber jacket as well was presented as a part of the Fall 2001 collection. Raf Simons was inspired by the biography of Richard James Edwards from Manic Street Preachers who went missing in 1995. He placed the musician’s pictures and a “Have you seen Richey?” caption onto the jacket. When Edwards was declared dead by the court, the bomber jacket rose in price – one of the jackets had been sold for $47,000.

The Raf Simons and graphic designer Peter Saville collaboration is arguably the most famous among all. It was the leather jacket with the artwork designed by Saville for Joy Division’s album Unknown Pleasures cover. You may not know the band, but you might recall the artwork.

Raf Simons managed to create merch even in collaboration with a 19th-century French painter. In the Fall 2001 collection, the brand showed a parka coat with a subtle edit of Henri Fantin-Latour’s “A Basket of Roses” on the back. The painting was edited by Peter Saville as well, for New Order’s album cover. By the way, this print was also used by Supreme later.

Now Raf Simons’s brand is history, but the iconic items of this brand will live for a long time. If you admire the aesthetics, you may want to sew something in this style. Take a look at patterns of Madison jacket, Uma puff coat, and Joy parka.

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