Born Neerpelt, Belgium in 1968.
Graduates in Industrial Design and Furniture Design in 1991 and starts working as a furniture designer for galleries and private interiors. Before this, Raf Simons interned at the design studio of Walter Van Beirendonck, working on the presentation and decoration of the Van Beirendonck showrooms and collections.
In a radical change of profession, hereby encouraged by Linda Loppa, head of the Fashion Department of the Antwerp Royal Academy, he becomes a self-trained menswear designer in 1995 and launches his Raf Simons label.
Designs the menswear outfits for Ruffo Research (Spring-Summer 1999 and Autumn-Winter 1999-2000).
October 2000, Raf Simons is appointed head professor of the Fashion Department of the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria until June 2005.
Wins first prize Swiss Textiles Award, Lucerne, Switzerland in November 2003.
Presents ‘Raf Simons Redux’, a book by Peter De Potter and Raf Simons (published by Charta/Fondazione Pitti Discovery) coinciding with his label's 10th anniversary. ‘Raf Simons 1995-2005’, a fashion/art event at the Giardini di Boboli in Florence, Italy (initiated and produced by the Fondazione Pitti Discovery, June 2005) equally celebrates his first decade in fashion.
Named Creative Director of Jil Sander (menswear and womenswear) from July 2005 until February 2012.
April 2011, Raf Simons is President of the Fashion jury of the Hyères 26th International Festival of Fashion and Photography.
Curates Transmission 1, a three-day multidisciplinary event in Berlin initiated and sponsored by Mercedes-Benz in July 2011.
April 2012 - nominated Artistic Director of Christian Dior for women's Haute Couture, Ready-to-Wear and Accessory collections. Raf Simons presents his first Haute Couture collection in July 2012.
August 2016 - Raf Simons has been named the new chief creative officer of Calvin Klein.
At the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards which took place on June 4th, 2017 Raf Simons won both the Womenswear and Menswear Designer of the Year Award for Calvin Klein.
June 13th, 2017, Raf Simons was granted the Prize for General Cultural Merit at the Ultima’s – the Flemish Culture Prizes granted by the Department of Culture, Youth and Media of the Flemish Government.
October 31st, 2017, WSJ. Magazine appointed Raf Simons as Fashion Innovator for their 2017 Innovator Awards.
December 4th, 2017, Raf Simons received the award for Designer of the Year from the British Fashion Council at their annual Fashion Awards ceremony.
Also in 2017, Simons was appointed one of the Time’s 100 most influential people, in the category “Icons”.
At the 2018 CFDA Awards Raf Simons was honoured for the second year in a row as Womenswear Designer of the Year for his work at Calvin Klein.
The most important message Raf Simons wants to communicate is:
pride in individuality.
Fuelled by his love for both rebellious youth cultures and traditional menswear, he emerges in fashion halfway through the nineties, presenting a radically different image of masculinity. Fusing the energy and singularity of teenage subcultures with the sharpness and precision of classical sartorial craft, the look presented by Raf Simons is both inspired by and designed for confident outsiders.
From the first collection on, music, art, performance, images and words have a substantial role in the whole package, summing up, or rather clarifying the kind of world Raf Simons wants to project. Always at the core of his universe (and as essential as the clothes themselves) are attitudes, moods and statements about individuality and independence.
Equally important in Raf Simons' approach is the constant quest for innovation. The designs are always looking for the now and tomorrow, even if they are inspired by historical or classical references. Throughout the years, with the signature style evolving and maturing, the key elements stay the same: modern proportions, a constant research for fabrics and textures and above all the interplay of pure construction and new shapes with the body and psyche of the contemporary man.