Belgian designer Raf Simons is to join the fashion house Prada in April, where he will share the leadership and design job with Miuccia Prada, who has helmed the company since taking over from her father in 1978.
Simons was born in Neerpelt in Limburg province in 1968, and began his studies in Genk as a furniture designer. He later switched to clothes, and went to work in the studio of Walter Beirendonck, one of the original Antwerp Six who put the port city on the map of the fashion world.
He produced his first collection under his own name in 1995, a menswear collection inspired by gothic and punk.
Since then he has been associated with some of the biggest names in the business: Jil Sander, which is owned by Prada, where he became creative director. Dior, where he replaced John Galliano following a scandal over anti-Semitic remarks. Cooperations with luggage-maker Eastpak, iconic sportswear brands Fred Perry and Adidas, and footwear company Dr. Martens.
Then, finally, a short-lived position with Calvin Klein, which he left in 2018 in such a rush that the company was unable to present a collection at the next New York Fashion Week.
Rumours about his joining Prada have been circulating since the last such event, and were now confirmed on the Prada Instagram account.
“From 2 April 2020, Raf Simons will join the Prada brand as co-creative director, working in partnership with Miuccia Prada with equal responsibilities for creative input and decision-making. The first Prada collection designed by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons will be the Spring/Summer 2021 womenswear show, presented in Milan in September 2020.”
“I’m extremely happy to start this new phase, it’s certainly going to be extremely exciting,” Prada said at a press conference. “We like each other, we respect each other, and we’ll see if we go somewhere.”
Simons commented, “I’m very pleased to announce our partnership on Prada, a brand I’ve been interested in my whole life. I’m not closing my own business, I always look for new challenges in my life.”