Menswear Icon Raf Simons Discusses His Latest Streetwear Collab

Raf Simons speaks to SLEEK about his latest streetwear collaboration with Eastpak.

Raf Simons x Eastpak

Raf Simons has released two new bags in collaboration with Eastpak, his fifth such venture with the Boston-based brand. Showcased as part of his Fall/Winter 2017 collection, the items draw ideas from Simons’ new surroundings – the fashion designer recently moved to New York to work for Calvin Klein – and his continuing fascination with youth and counterculture.

Speaking to SLEEK, Simons is keen to stress that his collaborations don’t exist as a separate entity. “As with all the collaborations we do, we do not see this [one] as a separate capsule,” he explains. “We view it as part of the whole season collection. We use the same fabrics, trims and volumes to create [it].”

The two backpacks fuse high-end flourishes with punky, youthful influences. Moreover, the way in which they combine full-grain leather with canvas and nylon suggests that the American bag manufacturer, famed for its utilitarian products, has left its stamp on the high-end fashion genius. Despite this, Simons insists that his new home hasn’t altered the way he works. “New York is, obviously, an incredibly inspiring place,” he says. “The people, the neighbourhoods, [the] architecture, [the] art scene… Although we find a great deal of inspiration in New York, the design process does not change greatly. We still go to the fabric fairs and the team works very closely together.”

Describing his ongoing partnership with Eastpak as “natural and spontaneous”, Simons says that the Boston-based company is the perfect partner to “bring luxury menswear closer to the kids in the streets.” Mixing streetwear with high fashion is, after all, one of the designer’s hallmarks. But how does he envisage his fans using these items?

“In mine, I’ve my wallet, keys and the dog leash,” he says. “[But they] work with any type of outfit. It’s really more than just the garments; it’s about the attitude.”

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