Rafael Kouto

Rafael Kouto, who lives and works between Lausanne, Zürich (CH) and Venice (IT), is Swiss with Togolese and Ghanian origins. He is a creative director, fashion & textile designer, as well as researcher in upcycling methods, sustainable and engaging strategies with a particular focus on open source and craftsmanship. He studied Fashion Design at FHNW-HGK in Basel, earning an MA in Fashion Matters from the Sandberg Institut in Amsterdam. He has had various work experiences at Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela, Carven and Ethical Fashion Initiative.  In 2017 he founded the avant-garde upcycling couture brand of the same name, of which he leads the creative direction, the development of strategies, collaborations and engaging projects for the promotion of upcycling and sustainability through the use of textile waste, dead stock and others materials in the creative and production process. The promotion of upcycling takes place through workshops in collaboration with various institutions and through teaching as associate professor in Fashion Design at the IUAV in Venice. He collaborated as a consultant at the Education and Learning Office at Fondazione ITS - International Talent Support in Trieste (IT) for the creation and planning of the activities, courses, workshops and special projects with past finalists and local artisans. During his residencies at TaDA in Arbon, Istituto Svizzero in Milan, Lottozero in Prato and VU.CH in Lausanne he developed participatory projects, installations and research related to sustainability, upcycling, fashion and textile history engaging with local communities. He’s currently doing a research project in Ghana and Nigeria, about upcycling by contemporary West African artists & fashion designers, decolonisation in fashion & textile and traditional crafts & rituals. In collaboration with The Noldor Residency, The OR Foundation, Kokrobitey Institute and Guest Artists Space Foundation. The residency is supported by Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, the Swiss Arts Council.
Textile Design
Fashion Design

Selected Work
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Nubuke Foundation, Wa 2024