Raf Simons is closing his eponymous label after 27 years.
Announcing the news on Monday via a brief statement on Instagram, the Belgian-born fashion designer revealed that the brand’s spring/summer 2023 collection shown in October in London will be its last.
“I lack the words to share how proud I am of all that we have achieved,” he wrote. “Thank you all, for believing in our vision and for believing in me.”
While the reasoning behind the brand’s shuttering is unclear, insiders speculated that it may be due to the turbulent financial market the fashion industry faces.
In November 2019, the American designer Zac Posen closed his label after 20 years in business, while in June 2020 the New York-based brand Sies Marjan announced it was closing due to the financial impact of Covid 19.
There is also speculation that Simons wants to focus fully on his co-creative director role at Prada alongside the company’s controlling shareholder, Miuccia Prada. Prada said at the time of his appointment in February 2020 that Simons would have “equal responsibilities for creative input and decision making”.
Prada, 73, denied at the time that the decision was made as preparation for her eventual retirement.
The duo’s first co-designed collection was launched digitally for spring/summer 2021 during Milan fashion week.
Simons is hailed as one of the most celebrated designers in modern fashion, influencing both menswear and womenswear around the world. His celebrity fans include the singer Rihanna and actors Emma Watson and Charlize Theron.
He was part of the original “Antwerp Six”, graduates from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp who in 1986 took their collections to London for the British Designer Show, a precursor to London fashion week.
The cohort, which includes Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck, are credited with putting Belgian fashion on the international fashion map while showcasing a progressive new aesthetic.
Simons launched his namesake label in 1995. Celebrating youth culture and focusing on minimalist silhouettes such as skinny tailoring, he set a new precedent in menswear.
His idea to cast real people from the streets to walk in his shows was sensational at the time.
He later held roles at Jil Sander, Dior and Calvin Klein before taking on his current role at Prada.
For his final show, Simons invited more than 1,000 guests including fashion students to the clubbing venue Printworks in south-east London.