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Issey Miyake

April 23, 2018

Another creative’s work I admired from my college days, was that of the Japanese fashion/textile designer Issey Miyake.

Along with other strong oriental designers like Rei Kawakubo working for Comme Des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto also designing in the Eighties, Issey’s beautiful sense of line and form, grace and design struck a real chord with me.

I even entered a textile competition designing a collection of fabrics with him as the inspiration !

Issey Miyake was born on April 22, 1938 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Happy Birthday for yesterday !)

He studied graphic design at the Tama Art University in Tokyo, graduating in 1964. After graduation, he worked in Paris and New York City. Returning to Tokyo in 1970, he founded the Miyake Design Studio, a high-end producer of women’s fashion.

From the outset, Miyake’s creative process has been based upon the concept of “one piece of cloth.” His process explores the fundamental relationship between the body, the cloth that covers it, and the space and room that is created between these elements, divesting itself of the labels of “East” or “West”

The outlandish model and singer Grace Jones made an excellent collaborative choice, to show off Miyake’s amazing creations to the fashion world.

He’s the master if creating unusual shapes on the body.

After the ISSEY MIYAKE A-ŪN exhibition in 1988, Miyake began to experiment further with pleats, in the hopes of expanding the possibilities of the medium. When William Forsythe came to Miyake asking him to create clothing for his new production The Loss of Small Detail for the Frankfurt Ballet (first performed in 1991) Miyake was inspired and attempted to create pleated clothing that would move, using a new lightweight knitted material and introducing a new technique called “garment pleating.” Traditional pleated clothing is made by pleating fabric, then cutting and sewing the individual garments. Here, an oversized piece of cloth was cut and sewn in the shape of the desired garment and then sandwiched between two layers of washi paper and fed into a heat-press. Unlike its predecessors, these pleats remained permanently in the fabric’s “memory” and never had to be returned for re-pleating.

This experiment lead to further changes and adjustments and in 1993, the line PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE was born. The label offered clothing as a product that was easy to to wear, care for and to travel with; PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE was the perfect, elegant, yet practical and affordable solution for the needs of a modern woman, translating effortlessly from work to play to suit her diverse needs.

It is impossible to tell the story of Miyake’s work without mentioning the unique collaboration with photographer Irving Penn that lasted for over 10 years, beginning in 1986. Penn’s photographs, which number around 250 and were styled by Midori Kitamura (current president of Miyake Design Studio), burst with energy and surprise, and were compiled into 7 books. This body of work represents not only an archive documenting a unique artistic collaboration but also of the spiritual connection between two creators, separated by two continents but which resonate and transcend the realm of fashion photography.

In 1998, Miyake began to develop A-POC (A Piece Of Cloth) with Dai Fujiwara. A-POC was not only able to create clothing with a high degree of variation, but was also able to control the amount created through the process of casting, where each thread receives computerized instructions. A-POC was revolutionary in that it began with a single thread and resulted in fabric, texture and a fully finished set of clothing in a single process. It led the way, along with the concept of engineering design, to a new methodology of clothing design.

 

More recently he has worked with brands like Adidas to create backpacks and sport bags.

Today, Miyake is working on the next phase and new projects. He and longtime Issey Miyake Collection production chiefs Sachiko Yamamoto and Manabu Kikuchi have assembled a select team of experienced and young staff members from within the Studio known as the “Reality Lab”. The Reality Lab ‘s focus is on new designs that are intimately connected to society. Many of these projects come out of the extensive research undertaken in preparation for the XXIst – Century Man, an exhibition directed by Miyake at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT in 2008. The work at the Reality Lab includes a focus upon the development of environmentally-friendly materials that recycle and recreate new and better things from pre-existing ones.

Such a creative mind and spirit.

Thanks to Wikipedia and the Issey Miyake official site for the written information used in this post.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Adam Harper permalink
    April 23, 2018 10:47 am

    Great article. I love discovering new talent through your always informative articles and blog posts. Thank you for shining a light on such an incredible designer, the likes of Miyake. His style, innovation and pure talent is always a welcome read. Keep up your the amazing work.

    Adam

    • April 23, 2018 3:48 pm

      Many thanks Adam for your comments. Always pleased to hear when a post or designer hits the mark lol

  2. April 23, 2018 3:56 pm

    This is a GREAT story! Thank you!

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