Raf Simons has announced he’ll be closing his eponymous label after 27 years.
The Belgian-born designer revealed the news on Monday via a brief statement on Instagram; he confirmed that the brand’s SS23 collection shown in October in London will be his 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 closure is unclear, insiders speculated that it may be due to the turbulent financial market the fashion industry faces. In November 2019, American designer Zac Posen closed his label after 20 years in business, while in June 2020, 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 entirely on his co-creative director role at Prada alongside the company’s controlling shareholder, Miuccia Prada. The brand said at the time of his appointment in February 2020 that Simons would have “equal responsibilities for creative input and decision making.”
Prada 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 revered designers in modern fashion, influencing both menswear and womenswear around the world. His celebrity fans include the likes of Rihanna, A$AP Rocky and Kendall Jenner.
He was a 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. He set a new precedent in menswear by celebrating youth culture and focusing on minimalist silhouettes such as skinny tailoring.
He later held roles at Jill 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.