Rafael Kouto grew up in Ticino, earned a Bachelor’s degree in fashion design in Basel and then a Master’s in «Fashion Matters» at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam. In the course of his studies, he worked as an intern at a number of fashion houses in London and Paris. His designs are based on a philosophy of sustainable production and «slow fashion» and are also guided by the principles of the UN’s Ethical Fashion Initiative. His collection «All the nothing that will remain» was displayed at the Salone del Mobile 2018 in Milan among other places and he was one of the winners of the Swiss Design Awards 2018 in the category Fashion and Textile Design.
The brand Rafael Kouto is focusing on sustainable design and production systems, mixing upcycling with couture technics and crafts.
Swiss-born textile and fashion designer, with Togolese and Italian roots, Rafael Kouto has been raising international interest with his recent collections DRAG ME TO THE AFTER HOUR ON THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON / THE MOON PARADE, inspired by the evolution phases of the moon, and ALL THE NOTHING THAT WILL REMAIN, using used textiles provided by TEXAID, combining sustainability with creative design techniques.
Based in Zurich, the fashion designer had developed an interesting retail model, with the aim of engaging the end-customer: “The main core of my brand is the customisation and upcycling of mass-produced discarded garments into unique made-to-order pieces which consequently has a more personal and transparent relation with the consumer. (…)The idea is to share the process and knowledge as an extension and evolution of the traditional concept of the atelier towards open source couture in order to involve the customers in creative and production process in fashion.” (Rafael Kouto in Vogue Italia – March 2018)
When navigating his recently opened online shop, customers are given the opportunity to create their own unique piece, choosing from a selection of available recycled garments and patterns.