Interview — Issey Miyake

Interview with Yoshiyuki Miyamae
Creative Director for Issey Miyake

 

Photography Felix Wong at Seen Artists
Model Ida Dyberg at Fusion
Styling Amarsana Gendunova
Makeup Ingeborg at Art Dept LA using Surratt Beauty
Hair Paul Warren at Art Dept for René Furterer
Questions Emily Fox

 

Since debuing his first collection in New York during 1971 and then participating in Paris Fashion Week since 1973, Issey Miyake's unique concept of clothing as "A Piece of Cloth" was widely acclaimed throughout the world. An inexhaustible explorer, he has continued to open up new horizons for making clothes through research, experimentation and development while reimagining the relationship between the human body and clothing. In 2006, Yoshiyuki Miyamae joined as a member of the brand design team and in 2011 became the designer for Issey Miyake.

Miyamae has introduced 3D-like fabric techniques when steam is applied, heat-reactive thread in the fabric instantly reacts and transforms the garment into three-dimensional patterns, following the contours of the creases. Another being a technique where a piece of cloth is imprinted with a special glue, placed in a baking machine, and baked. Similar to bread rising in the oven, the glue expands with high heat, transforming the molds of the pleats to complete the clothing. Miyamae's innovative approach to fashion design during his time at Issey Miayke has been globally successful. His forward thinking ideas are pushing the advancement of the fashion industry in the direction of what will come next and we cannot wait to see Miyamae's creative mind continue to explore at Issey Miayke. We sat down with Yoshiyuki Miyamae to talk about his creative process, his most recent collection and where he draws inspiration from.

 

 

— Describe your creative process

Yoshiyuki Miyamae: I get inspiration from things created by nature such as landscapes, plants and water. This informs the materials, colors and shapes.
 

Just from looking at your collection, I get a sense of the vastness of space and interstellar travel; where did you find the inspiration for these pieces?

YM: We cannot actually see what the vastness of outer space looks like; it remains unknown and mysterious to us. So the team searched for things close at hand, and created our own rendition of space.

We imagined what the Earth looked like as seen through the eyes of an astronaut, and created our image of the Earth by overlapping layers of brightly-colored jelly. We also used a pancake cooked in a pan to represent the cratered surface of the moon. So we began with things around us, and added some creativity to come up with something original. 


We cannot actually see what the vastness of outer space looks like...We imagined what the Earth looked like as seen through the eyes of an astronaut.
— Yoshiyuki Miyamae

 

How do you stay on top of current design trends?

YM: I make sure to actually see real people, on streets and in media, and learn and perceive what sort of things they are interested in.

 

 

To you, why is fashion so important in global culture? is it merely a method of self-expression, or is it something else entirely?

YM: A designer’s job is to solve problems in people’s lifestyles and in society, at large. My hopes are to carry on Miyake’s thoughts and aspirations, and to make people’s daily lives richer and more comfortable.
 

— With all the varied social media outlets, it’s so much easier to see what people are wearing, and where. do you think this stimulates individual style, or instead creates a homogenous result of people copying each other’s personal styles? do you find the presence of social media stimulating or overwhelming when it comes to seeking inspiration for your designs?

YM: Today, we live in a socially networked society, so we can get information faster and more easily than ever before. However, the most important thing for me is to actually use my hands and experience many things by going to the actual places where they take place. What we have felt and perceived are carefully put to use by the team in creating items for our collections.

 

 
 

 

The presence of such stores as h&m, zara, and forever21 means the average cost of clothes is very little. in fact, consumers spend far less of their income on clothes not than they did in the ‘60s. however, these clothes are also made with inferior quality. what is your opinion, if any, on mass consumer clothing lines?

YM: I realize this trend is happening not only in fashion, but also in foods and other industries. I have no opinion on so-called fast fashion, but as far as I’m concerned, I hope to give added value to high-quality items, and create and release things that are not found on every street.
 

— How long after a collection is finished do you start work on the next one? how does the process of creating a new collection start?

YM: Creating clothes is a never-ending process. We spend two to three years on planning and development. After our show in Paris ends, however, I make sure to take a trip and refresh myself for the next one.

 

 
 

 

Do you have any advice for young designers, something that you wish you had known when you were first starting?

YM: You should question all manner of things all the time. A designer is finished if he or she stops questioning. You should find tasks and challenges on your own and not give up until you solve them. I believe this sort of attitude is important. 
 

Can you tell us anything about the upcoming collection? are there any themes you are focusing on, or any elements you are emphasizing? 

YM: I hope to create materials by focusing on beauty created by nature. I plan to launch materials and fabrics not seen anywhere before. 

 


 

For more information about Yoshiyuki Miyamae and his collections for Issey Miyake, head to isseymiyake.com.

This interview was originally published in ONE Magazine Issue No.12, The Vision Issue. Available for purchase here.