In August 2016, after ongoing industry speculation, Simons was officially announced as chief creative officer of Calvin Klein . Relocating to New York, Simons is now tasked with leading the creative vision at the iconic American brand. In his previous tenure at Dior, the multi-talented fashion visionary brought storied fashion house to the forefront of modernity with his innovative approaches to design, across ready-to-wear, accessories and haute couture. Prior to his appointment at the Parisian house, Simons spent 7 years in creative direction for Jil Sander . In October 2015, he stepped down from his position at Dior to shift his focus to his eponymous label, which showed at Pitti Uomo in Florence in June 2016.Encouraged by Linda Loppa, head of the fashion department at the Antwerp Royal Academy, the Belgian designer launched the Raf Simons label, which began as a youth culture line, in 1995.
In 2008, two flagship Raf Simons standalone stores opened in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, in collaboration with the artists Sterling Ruby and Roger Hiorns. Since 2008, Simons has created collections in collaboration with Fred Perry, Asics and Adidas, and collections of sunglasses with Linda Farrow.
Simons was appointed as creative director of Jil Sander in June 2005, and received industry-wide acclaim for his minimalist work at the German label. During his tenure, Simons transformed the brand's aesthetic from its austere minimalism by adding feminine accents and fluid silhouettes. The diffusion line Jil Sander Navy was launched under his creative direction.
Simons left Jil Sander in time for his appointment to Dior in April 2012, replacing Bill Gaytten as creative director and ending a period of transition after John Galliano's dismissal from the role.
During his time at Dior, Simons offered modern couture and demi-couture ready-to-wear collections, featuring contemporary art and new-age materials and creating a elegant and modern take on Dior’s archive of classic silhouettes. Simons’ homages and updates of the Dior archives placed the previously minimalist designer at the forefront of Parisian fashion, building on his established reputation from his work at his own label and Jil Sander.
In 2015, Simons cast Rihanna as the first black face of the house. In the same year, Dior & I — a documentary by Frédéric Tcheng exploring the house's couture atelier and the creation of Simon's first Haute Couture collection at Dior — was released to rave reviews.