While studying industrial design in Genk, Raf Simons worked as an intern with Walter Van Beirendonck, working on the presentation and decoration of his collection and showrooms in 1991. This experienced prompted a desire to move into fashion design, and Simons was encouraged by Linda Loppa, then head of the Antwerp Academy, not to take on further study but to work towards becoming a self-taught designer. Simons followed her advice and launched his own men’s wear label in 1995. Fuelled by his love for both rebellious youth cultures and traditional menswear, he emerged onto the fashion scene presenting a radically different image of masculinity, one that became hugely influential in the men’s wear of that decade. He maintains a studio based in Antwerp from which he continues to design his eponymous men’s wear label.