Born in Belgium in 1968, Simons studied industrial design in Genk. Inspired by the work of designers such as Martin Margiela, he moved to Antwerp, where the head of the Fashion Department at the city’s Royal Academy encouraged him to start his own label without further study. Launched in 1995, Raf Simons menswear—informed both by classic tailoring and youth culture—had a huge impact on the style of the decade.
In 2005 Simons became artistic director of the Jil Sander label, which under his tenure became known for its vital, sophisticated modernism. In 2012 he was named creative director of Dior Women, a position that he held until late in 2015. After concentrating for a number of months on his own label and other collaborations, in August of 2016 Simons was confirmed as the new Chief Creative Officer of the American fashion label Calvin Klein. His acclaimed first collection for the brand was presented in February 2017.
A passionate collector of contemporary art and modern design, Simons’ aesthetic is often informed by his admiration for art and he regularly engages in interdisciplinary collaborations.