Raf Simons has survived 27 years in an industry of competition and rapid change. It’s quite a milestone living the dreams of other brands.
The brand lasted through the 2007-2008 financial crisis, Brexit and the COVID pandemic. However, in November it was announced that SS23 would be the last line.
“Everything changes, both in our ideas and in the material world. Some changes happen gradually. But often the most important changes are not gradual but discontinuous or jerky,” Simons said.
Coincidentally (perhaps on purpose), Simons timed the closing perfectly. To note: he is currently the co-creative director of Prada.
The fashion designer shut down his brand at just the right time to retain her important contribution to the fashion world. At the same time, he is also able to expand his name and talents in a larger house.
So the timing couldn’t be better.
In November, Interbrands – a brand consultancy – gave Prada a good grade, calling it one of the fastest growing top 22 Global Brands. Furthermore, the brand is valued at $6.548 billion.
Simmons’ decision reflects the realities of the industry. Some designers have started expanding their portfolios as owners of their own labels. But as their careers expanded and they touched on big house, they couldn’t keep up with the pressure of running two labels.
“What Simons was once known for – bomber jackets, pop culture inspired themes, patchwork, loose fits – other designers are now grabbing into. His brand has just not remained relevant enough,” Catherine Hudson said.
Notably, Hudson is an associate lecturer in fashion design at the University of East London.
Meanwhile, journalist Nicole Johnson released her take on the decision.
“The most influential fashion brands and designers stand the test of time, having occupied distinctive places in fashion history. These icons enjoyed the unique experience of influencing generations,” Johnson said.
Since the 1990s, Raf Simons has proved he has the best skills. The designer can restructure the link between pop culture, art, and clothing. Furthermore, that ability set the standards in menswear for casual, luxury, deconstructed, fashionable clothes.
Simons Fashion Journey
Simons embarked on the fashion industry’s backwaters with unconventional designs. And it sent a heat wave to the industry and its fans.
The fashion designer’s fall 2016 menswear collection, “Nightmares and Dreams,” stood as a busted line of his 20-year archive. Instead, it hinted at the recoupment of the time after his exit from Dior. That season, down jackets, oversized sweaters, and misaligned oats made the statement.
After his stirring departure from Calvin Klein, Simon’s fall winter 2019/2020 collection contained pieces full of decoding.
At the time, Vice’s Steve Salter wrote an observation of the designer’s approach.
“Raf’s vision was darker, dirtier, and more underground than anything we had seen before. The counterculture genius let his statement-filled collection do the talking,” Salter said.
For almost three decades, Simons became an icon to a youthful fanbase with his blend of luxury fashion, hype, and music. That is the specific contribution his label will mark on fashion history.
But today’s youth desires something way different. Fashion enthusiasts today gape at the exclusivity of labels such as Supreme, Stussy and Off-White.
Photo: Fashion Week Daily