The RAFFAUF brand was born in the late 80’s in the mind of Caroline Raffauf, then a Parisian fashion student. While studying in the fashion capitals of Italy and France, she developed her distinctive style: centred around clean lines, timeless cuts and individual details, always balancing on the edge between high-end fashion and urban style. She created her first collection while still a student. Shortly afterwards, she put her vision into practice and founded her own label to realise her very own designs.
Her goal was to put her creativity into practice beyond the boundaries set by other designers and to experiment with and establish new materials that had never been used before.
Three decades ago, topics such as climate change, zero waste and slow fashion were not prominent in the fashion world. Neither in Rome nor in Paris did anyone care about the fabrics used and how they relate to the environment we live in. Caroline Raffauf wanted to change that. She still remembers a key moment: “The first time I unwrapped a freshly arrived fabric roll, the toxic stench took my breath away. I knew immediately that I didn't want to do this to the environment, nor to the people who would wear my clothes on their skin.”
The path towards a more sustainable fashion industry was a rocky road. Back then, suppliers needed to be convinced to start producing eco-friendly fabrics. Even those who used natural fibres treated them with toxic substances to avoid shrinking and weren’t interested in trying out more expensive but sustainable ways. Finally, having found suppliers who were willing to explore new ways of manufacturing, fashion buyers had to be convinced of this new concept they had never heard of before and were highly sceptical about. Sustainability has long been regarded as a temporary trend, and many players in the fashion industry only realise now that environmental awareness is a necessity.
Nevertheless, Caroline specialised in natural materials and a sustainable production chain from the very beginning. Sustainability without compromise in design, that was and is the vision of RAFFAUF. We want you to love our garments for their design, not just because they’re sustainable. We believe sustainability should be the icing on the cake rather than a self-purpose.
From the very moment Caroline unwrapped this first fabric roll until today, the RAFFAUF collections have always remained environmentally responsible. And there are a million reasons: because it’s essential to keep our planet alive for further generations. Because we want to make the lives of garment workers more humane. And because we want to raise awareness for sustainability in fashion and society alike. But there is still something more to it: the challenge. Combining high end-fashion and sustainability and developing new materials and fabrics is always different, always demanding and exciting. This is especially so in the outerwear sector, in which synthetic fibres and toxic coatings are overwhelmingly dominant. We want to push the boundaries further with each new collection and think further than others have done before us.
Today, Caroline Raffauf is still our designer and the face of our brand. And today, 30 years after our founding, design and sustainability are still our top priorities.