Raf Simons (the label) joins the 27 Club

After nearly three decades, the designer shut down his namesake label—but its legacy will last forever

Today, Raf Simons (the brand, not the man) joined the 27 Club—which is populated with immense talents who could have become or done any number of things, had they not ceased to exist. The legacy of the label holds well within those ranks, cementing its tastemaker status after nearly three decades of design.

To share the news, Simons adopted a beloved and well-proven mode of posting: wiping his Instagram grid entirely, leaving just the announcement that his most recent collection would be the label’s last. Varying states of grief populate the post’s comment section—some are angry (“i bought shit JUST CUZ it was raf and i ain’t even like it…dam bro u fucked my whole shit up”), some are depressed (“;(”), and others reveal state of acceptance (“makes sense”).

The designer has not yet commented on his reasons for ending Raf Simons, but given the economic climate that has clobbered independent labels over the last decade, finances seem to be an obvious consideration. The decision to close is surprising, mostly given the brand’s legacy, but its announcement was in keeping with the designer’s affinity for swiftness—his tenures at Jil Sander, Dior, and Calvin Klein were impactful, but brief. As with his namesake line, he was given full creative control—something that seems to inhibit Simons more than invigorating him, as he remains at Prada, where he shares the role of creative director.

Whatever his reason, the power of Simons’s archive and his collections to come will hold the designer’s place at the tops of stylistic totem poles. “I have asked myself repeatedly why I started in fashion and it always comes down to the first fashion show I saw in 1990, when I saw Martin [Margiela]’s third collection,” Simons told Document in 2015. “That was the moment when I understood what fashion could be and understood what could attract me to fashion.” He will undoubtedly continue to do the same for others.