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ISSEY MIYAKE

Issey Miyake was born in Hiroshima, in the southern part of Japan, in 1938. In 1965 he graduated from Tama Art University in Tokyo, where he majored in graphic design. Following graduation, he went to Paris just three months after Kenzo Takada, the first Japanese designer to became successful in France, arrived there. Miyake and Kenzo had known each other in Tokyo, and they studied together at a tailoring and dressmaking school, l'Ecole de la chambre syndicale de la couture. In 1966 Miyake worked as an apprentice under the French couturier Guy Laroche, and two years later he apprenticed at Givenchy.

He then went to New York to work with the American designer Geoffrey Beene before returning to Tokyo, where he founded the Miyake Design Studio in 1970. One of Miyake's New York friends took some of his design samples to Vogue magazine and a major department store, Bloomingdale's. Both Vogue and Bloomingdale's were enthusiastic about his work, and Bloomingdale's was so impressed that Miyake got a small section in the store. His first small collection in New York included T-shirts dyed with Japanese tattoo designs and sashiko-embroidered coats (Sashiko is a Japanese sewing technique that gives strength to the fabrics used in clothing designed for workers). In 1973, when French ready-to-wear was institutionalized for the first time as prêt-à-porter, Miyake was invited to Paris to join a group show with such other young designers as Sonia Rykiel and Thierry Mugler. He opened a boutique there two years later and continued to show his collection in Paris. Miyake later became an official member of the French prêt-à-porter organization.

First ISSEY MIYAKE store opened in the Puzzle Aoyama Building in Gaienmae, Tokyo in 1974. And then, First overseas ISSEY MIYAKE store opened in Place du Marche Saint-Honore, Paris in 1975. The brand expanded the business to New York and London.

Every convention carries with it an aesthetic, according to which-what is conventional becomes the standard by which artistic beauty and effectiveness is judged. The conception of fashion is synonymous with the conception of beauty. Therefore, an attack on a convention becomes an attack on the aesthetic related to it. By breaking the Western convention of fashion, Miyake suggested the new style and new definition of aesthetics. It could have been taken as an offense not only against the Western aesthetic, but also against the existing arrangement of ranked statuses, a stratification system in fashion, or the hegemony of the French system.


Miyake's cutting-edge concept that there is beauty in the unfinished and the neglected has had a major influence on today's fashion. Miyake says, "I do not create a fashionable aesthetic … I create a style based on life"

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