Raf Simons and A$AP Rocky: fashion’s father and son

Raf Simons and A$AP Rocky: fashion’s father and son

by Ollie Cox
5 min

Everybody loves Raf Simons, the Belgian designer’s eponymous label, which closed after nearly three decades at the cutting edge of contemporary fashion in 2022. It seamlessly fused subculture into its trailblazing sartorial output, pulling on references including punk and art, reflected in storied pieces like its Fall/Winter 2003 New Order Parker. This legendary piece looked to the striking visuals of graphic design great Peter Saville, who is behind the Manchester band’s famous artwork. Raf Simons’ work is catnip for creatives, with Kanye West being an outward lover of Simons’ designs, but by far, the most vocal fan of his work is A$AP Rocky.

The Harlem-based rapper has dedicated songs to the brand, regularly worn its pieces, and even replicated its debut collection in a music video. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite Raf x Rocky moments for your reading pleasure below. 

A double denim moment at the Met Gala in 2017 

2017 was a big year for A$AP Rocky and Raf Simons, and one Raf link-up we won’t be forgetting in a hurry is his Mega Met Gala moment in 2017, which saw Rocky wear a beautifully well-fitted black denim jean and shirt combo, with a tasteful bit of white turtleneck contrast thrown in the mix too. 

The look encapsulated what Raf Simons does so well, elevating denim’s universally appreciated allure with a detailed, almost tailored approach to its fit and form that looked at home on the red carpet. 

Hard to get hikers 

Way back in 2008, Raf Simons released a rare “De Stijl” hiking boot, inspired by the Dutch art movement, Neoplasticism, behind angular, colour-pop designs. The resulting shoe blended a square-toed design with a cork heel across an angular hi-top silhouette

The rapper wore the shoes in 2013 with baggy shorts, a white shirt and an overcoat for a live performance of “LONG.LIVE.A$AP/Wild For The Night” on the David Letterman Show, and we’re still thinking about it now. 

“RAF” music Video 

In 2017, the A$AP Mob cemented their love for Raf Simons, teaming up with Playboi Carti, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert and Frank Ocean to show their love for the brand, with a song aptly titled “RAF.” The music video saw iconic pieces, such as the New Order Parka jacket. The track went beyond simply an appreciation for the brand and replicated some of Raf Simons’ most iconic runway moments, showcasing Rocky’s encyclopaedic love for the brand. 

The video saw characters captured on a grainy 8mm camera, mirroring Raf Simons debut collection, which saw models walk onto the screen wearing school uniform-inspired sartorial reworkings. It doesn’t stop there. At the start of the video, Rocky was pictured holding a lit red flare and archive “Kollaps” hoodie with a ski mask covering his face. The striking reference was a brazen yet beautiful mirroring of the Raf Simons Spring/Summer 2002 collection, which saw models add some anarchy to the catwalk, setting Simons’ own menswear manifesto, drawing on his Helmut Lang and Maison Margiela influences. This fashioning of rebellion collided with a mature menswear offering of tailored jackets and top coats whilst simultaneously setting the blueprint for streetwear labels in years to come. 

That New York Sweater 

When you’re a New York legend like A$AP Rocky, paying homage to your city is in your DNA. A basic “I love New York” T-shirt just doesn’t cut it for A$AP, as the 2017 snaps showing Pretty Flacko donning the oversized “I Love NY sweater” when he was deep in his Vans Old Skool era. The release of the item marked Raf Simons’ New York Fashion Week debut and perfectly reflected his ability to elevate the everyday. The sweater was cropped, boxy, and oversized, and it’s still on our shopping list now. 

Raf and Rocky unite at Bottega Veneta 

A$AP Rocky has been blessing us in his role as a Bottega Veneta brand ambassador with his paparazzo-inspired Pre-Spring 2024 campaign giving us a lot to talk about. Naturally, we weren’t surprised to see him on the front row, just next to us, of course. When Raf rocked up, we knew a reunion was coming. Rocky spotted Raf from the front row, immediately heading over to hug him. Check out the special moment below. 

More on Culted 

See: Bottega Veneta FW24: a reminder of true luxury & fashion-forward thinking

See: What AVAVAV’s FW24 show says about fashion

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