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Raf Simons Teases New Sportswear-Inspired Footwear Line

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Raf Simons is bringing the running track to the runway.

In an Instagram post published Tuesday, the designer revealed a new line of footwear called (Runner) to be released through his personal label. Inspired by sports sneakers, the line will debut at an upcoming FW20 runway show at the Raf Simons Paris Showroom held from Jan. 18 through Jan. 23.

In the post, Simons said the first (Runner) drop would include eight sportswear-influenced styles that would be independently designed and manufactured by his label, calling the initial release a “comprehensive offering.”

“An investigation of form and function and an exploration of shape, the typical silhouettes of sports sneakers are challenged and re-proposed,” the post read, outlining a mission statement for the new line.

More than that, the designer’s social media account suggested the names behind each of the eight styles would hint at the design philosophy behind the shoe, providing a window into the “optimistic futurism” that was employed in its production.

So far, Simons has revealed the names behind five of the styles: Solaris, Antei, Cylon, Orion and 2001, most of which reference space or science fiction. For example, the “2001” style likely refers to the classic Stanley Kubrick film, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” released in 1968. “Cylon” could refer to the cybernetic antagonists within the “Battlestar Galactica” television and film universe.

Despite the somewhat fantastic origins of (Runner), Simons said the line would focus on employing natural materials like leather or suede alongside technical innovations and “strong color,” both described as part of the designer’s signature style. The line will also feature molded heel forms, the characteristics of which have yet to be revealed.

Although little is known about the look of (Runner) footwear so far, the designer did say the project is likely to be more than just a one-off.

“This is the initial step of a long-term project, to be expanded and explored in subsequent seasons,” the Instagram post read.

Widespread launches of the line are expected between June and September.

Simons has made waves in footwear before, collaborating with Adidas for a collection of sneakers under the Ozweego designation. In December 2018, the Belgian designer was relieved of his position as the chief creative officer at Calvin Klein after a two-year stint. Simons has since worked on his eponymous private label.

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