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Fashion “as a phenomenon”
The theme for his graduation collection, titled “The Everyone's New Clothes,” was the Emperor’s New Clothes, in which the Emperor is isn’t wearing any clothing. This was followed by “4th Collection: Graduate Fashion Show -0 Points,” which showcased garments made with “trash” generated at University and Art School. The next collection was inspired by an idea of Yamagata’s—if gods existed, what sort of show would they present in an age when fast fashion is getting faster and faster? The result was “5th Collection: The Fashion Show of the Gods,” in which he took 50-meter bolts of fabric and simply wound them around the models immediately before the show to represent the ultimate in fast fashion. Yamagata sees fashion “as a phenomenon,” with clothing generated by the mediation of people and society, and he is not beholden to conventional views of clothing.
Furthermore, Yamagata doesn’t restrict himself to his own brand, but attempts to update fashion itself. In 2008, he launched “Coconogacco,” a fashion design class where students could learn about, and experiment with, fashion. So far, 500 students have graduated from the courses he offers and are working in a range of industries.
Movement created by Evangelist of Japanese Fashion
Yamagata produced “Zetsumei Ten” and “Zetsu Zetsumei Ten” which was held at Shibuya Parco Museum. The exhibit contents were renewed everyday and some of his collection pieces were presented by live models. Yamagata seeks to increase his presence in the field of fashion and art. In 2015, Yamagata became the first Japanese designer to be nominated in LVMH PRIZE SHORT LIST. Yamagata perceives fashion design as a design process of any human aspect and its trend and considers fashion as a communication tool encompassing educational, social, cultural, and environmental views.
He continues to develop his fashion by exploring his personal roots in Japanese identity. Evangelist of Fashion tries to communicate what it means to dress and live in everyday life through creation of his pieces. His vision in fashion gets at the heart of the matter while sampling prevails in fashion.
Yamagata’s roots are in Tottori Prefecture, where he spent his formative years. Of all the prefectures in Japan, Tottori has the smallest population and the smallest number of cities. Famous for its sand dunes, it is located on the Japan Sea side of the Chugoku region, forming the eastern part of what is known as the San’in area. As hinted at by the name San’in, which means “shadow of the mountains,” clouds tend to converge in this region, and in winter it has some of the heaviest snows in Western Japan. According to Yamagata, this region has a negative image because of its inclement weather, with residents tending to stay indoors much of the time. However, it is also true to say that the mindset generated by the climate has been reflected in creative endeavors, and has inspired creativity. Apart from Yamagata, notable creators from this area include Japan’s leading ghost manga artist Shigeru Mizuki and photographer Shoji Ueda, whose work depicts the boundaries that lie between fantasy and the everyday.
The launch of the Seven Gods project
The Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 was a catalyst for Yamagata to re-examine the history of fashion, including the history of Japanese culture, the history of disasters, and to confront the issues that this disaster generated or exposed, including the economic consequences of the nuclear power station accident. The result was the launch of the Seven Gods project.
As the result of the highly demanding process of making clothes, Adam ends up hovering between life and death, but somehow completes his collection, the theme of which is “flea market.” He shows his “Adam Urashima” collection, consisting of 18 looks that he created using items found in the trash he collected as his day job.
THE SEVEN GODS
the Gods of Seven
“I created the Gods of Seven Costumes because I wondered what the gods would look like if Japan really had gods of clothing. The design is based on the Japanese tradition of a kumade rake to which is attached all sorts of auspicious objects. I think its origins lie in the fact that Japan has long experienced earthquakes, tsunamis, and every sort of disaster. To ward off all the different dangers, Japanese people have no choice but to pray in all directions.
“The trainer top worn by Adam is made with Zero notes. One of the characters in the Japanese word for a banknote includes the meaning of fabric, acting as a reminder that fabric was once used as money. These days, fabric doesn’t represent as much value as it used to, and so I thought I’d create fabric that represented as much value as it did back in the old days. To develop this fabric I collaborated with one of the most outstanding weavers in Japan, and then I created this item using the fabric we produced.”
The costume worn by the model who appears at the show’s finale features a tiger, to the head of which is attached the divine dragon that appears in “Dragon Ball.” Yamagata has incorporated the divine dragon into this design, as a reference to the story that your prayers will be answered if you can gather all seven Dragon Balls.