Issey Miyake

The Concepts and Work of Issey Miyake

Miyake's unwavering approach to creation is the freedom to have ideas, unconstrained by any preexisting rules or framework, and to be able to make them realities through a tenacious process of research and experimentation. Miyake works in a manner that not only advances his own ideas but also cultivates skills in the people around him, constantly pushing both the tradition and the evolution of design.

Miyake's first encounter with design was in his home-town of Hiroshima in which were two bridges: to live and to die, situated near the epicenter where the Atomic Bomb hit. (Built in 1952, and later renamed: to Create and to Go.) Walking over the bridges, watching them, was his first encounter with a design's ability to inspire powerful emotional responses; and hope. When the World Design Conference was first held in Japan in 1960, Miyake, who was a student at the then Faculty of Graphic Design at Tama Art University, sent a letter to the head office, questioning why clothing design was not included in the program. His focus on clothing as design instead of fashion gained attention. Shortly thereafter, he began designing his own clothing. Art director Jo Murakoshi approached him to create clothing for the Toyo Rayon (now Toray Industries, Inc.) calendar, 1963 edition.

Miyake presented his first collection, Nuno to ishi no uta (Poems of cloth and stone) after graduating from Tama Art University in 1963. In 1965, Miyake traveled to Paris. After studying haute couture, he worked as an assistant at two fashion houses. He witnessed the May 1968 Paris riots, an event that inspired a determination to create clothing for a wider range of people. The following year, 1969, he moved to New York. While working in an American ready-to-wear, he was inspired by the future potential of Japan, which was gaining momentum due to the impending Osaka Expo '70. Then he returned to Japan. The Peace Bridge Tsukuru (to create), Hiroshima.

Original sketch by Issey Miyake, 1965

As a student at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndical de la Couture Parisienne
Miyake also participated in 1970 TORAY KNIT EXHIBITION, presenting a group of clothing made up of parts that could be assembled and disassembled. In the same year he established the Miyake Design Studio. 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". Miyake's creative process begins by studying a single thread and creating his material. In the 1970s, Miyake joined with a number of collaborators, the result of which was the development of many new fabrics and ways by which to make things that incorporated traditional handcrafts wedded to the newest technology. While making innovative improvements to the cutting-edge synthetic technologies of the time and incorporating them into his pieces, Miyake also visited historic production regions and excavated traditional techniques, such as dyeing and weaving, that were on the verge of extinction. He forged ahead with his work, bringing traditional methods back to life to respond to the demands of the times. Miyake established a working method of collaborating with manufacturers and artists, trying to adapt new products to the needs of a contemporary lifestyle. These collaborations and research attempts led to the development of his trademark concept, “ one piece of cloth.” An overview of his work during this period is available via the compilation ISSEY MIYAKE : East Meets West, published 1978 (Heibonsha). It was the first monograph of a living fashion designer to be published in the world. A multitude of dynamic photographs and essays by artists from different mediums explored Miyake's interpretations of “one piece of cloth” with art direction by Ikko Tanaka and editing by Kazuko Koike.
+ See More
Sort by
  • P 4,040.00
Sort by