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He was born in Neerpelt, Belgium in 1968. He Graduates in Industrial Design and Furniture Design in 1991 and starts working as a furniture designer for galleries and private interiors. Before this, Raf Simons interned at the design studio of Walter Van Beirendonck, working on the presentation and decoration of the Van Beirendonck showrooms and collections.
In a radical change of profession, hereby encouraged by Linda Loppa, head of the Fashion Department of the Antwerp Royal Academy, he becomes a self-trained menswear designer in 1995 and launches his Raf Simons label.

Designs the menswear outfits for Ruffo Research (Spring-Summer 1999 and Autumn-Winter 1999-2000).