Raf Simons is a Belgian fashion designer at the vanguard of progressive menswear. His initial training was in Industrial Design, and he spent some years designing furniture for galleries and interiors. He apprenticed with Walter van Bierendonck in Paris, and learned tailoring from a leading Belgian practitioner before launching his first own-name menswear collection in 1995. His intricately choreographed shows play on the ambiguous identity created by the combination of a traditional education with subversive cultures like punk and new wave, and are a subtle mix of 'high' fashion, youth culture, music and performance. Since October 2000 he has been a tutor at the Fashion Department of the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Simons was Creative Director of the German fashion house Jil Sander from 2005-2012, overseeing menswear, accessories and for the first time a line of womenswear, shown to great acclaim as part of the Milan womenwear fashion week. In April 2012, Simons was appointed creative director at Dior and debuted at Paris haute couture week Autumn/Winter 2012. He continues to design under his own name, and also a lower-priced line titled Raf by Raf Simons.