Swiss textile and fashion designer Rafael Kouto recently graduated with an MA in Fashion Matters at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Previously graduated from the Institute of Fashion Design - Academy of Arts and Design - FHNW in Basel, Switzerland. With a professional background in Couture (Alexander McQueen, London 2013, and Maison Margiela, Paris 2015) and Ethical Fashion (Ethical Fashion Initiative, United Nations - International Trade Center, Geneva 2015) and lately for the ready-to-wear brand Carven in Paris.
The brand Rafael Kouto is focusing on sustainable design and production systems, mixing upcycling with couture technics and crafts. The main core is the customization and upcycling of mass-produced discarded garments into unique pieces, 100 % remade in Switzerland. The potential of the sustainable design and local production is giving a new value to the discarded materials as the main resource. The cultural background and the business model is based on Kouto‘s own cultural origins mixed with the practice of upcycling and creating an hybrid aesthetic, between Africa and the West. It represents an alternative to the current production in fashion as a new luxury paradigm with the aim is to encourage to recycling and upcycling.