When Raf Simons staged his SS23 collection at London nightclub Printworks back in October, who could have known it would be his last? Granted, all the signs were there; the Belgian designer notably returned to his underground roots and after the last look filed down the runway the fashion show erupted into a rave – a danse macabre of sorts. After 27 years, Simons has decided to shutter his eponymous label. Truly, the end of an era.
Simons made the announcement just this morning on his namesake brand's Instagram account, to the utter surprise of many across the industry. "I lack the words to share how proud I am of all that we have achieved," the statement reads.
"I am grateful for the incredible support from my team, from my collaborators, from the press and buyers, from my friends and family, and from our devoted fans and loyal followers," Simons said. "Thank you all, for believing in our vision and for believing in me."
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Simons emerged in Antwerp in 1995 having spent time designing furniture and shifting his gaze to fashion. The corresponding line was a hit, finding an audience in both the art world and eventually in music scene, and it's this reputation that's followed him in the years since. The clothes were minimalist and edgy, and although he would eventually go on to be creative director at Jil Sander, then Dior before his current post as co-creative director at Prada, his namesake label would continue to make waves in menswear.
At this stage Simons is yet to give further statement explaining why he is closing the brand, and it appears it's unlikely he will. Although, previously he's expressed his frustrations with the relentless pace of the fashion calendar.
In the comments other designers and industry figures are giving Raf Simons his flowers, with his right hand man Pieter Mulier responding with heart emojis and Marc Jacobs commenting "always incredible. always inspiring. thank you Raf."