Japan Fashion and Lifestyle Foundation: Supporting young fashion designers

Japan Fashion and Lifestyle Foundation

Introducing young award winning designers and the one's to watch

Designer's portrait, Kotoha Yokozawa
Born: 1991, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. After graduating “Esmod Japon”, Kotoha started to work as a designer in the apparel industry while continuing to study at “Coconogacco". After leaving the company where she worked, she returned to "Esmod AMI”.She started “kotohayokozawa” in March 2015 and presented her first collection. With the concept of “Keeping calm is difficult & Wearing the feeling that can not be suppressed on a regular day.” she aim to investigate the close relationship between feelings and clothing. Reason for Selection.Kotoha is a creative and produced that emphasizes sensitivity and design improvisation, and pursues the possibility of design.As she makes her products with a solid understanding of the basics of clothes making, we highly rated the brand continuity and development of the high quality end product.

Short duffle coat

The 2017 AW collection was based on the image of young girls from the suburbs. By transforming the shape of items we are familiar with, this duffle coat presents the image of girls who although have adapted to the city, still seem a little out of place.

Decoration knit

This knitwear is made by changing the size of the block check pattern on the sleeves. It also incorporates a pattern with cut work laces and studs creating a combination of the organic and the inorganic.

Making pleats top

The details of the pleats, which are a symbol of the brand, are all made by the designer herself.

Pleats top detail

Finely pleated, a tight overlock stitch, and sewn while stretching the material are the main characteristics of this brand.

Pleats ensembl

The pleated top is the symbol of this brand. Although the designs change every season, the pleated item is a standard of the brand with one being developed in the atelier at all times.

Printed dress with pleats skirt

The dress with its nostalgic 3 pattern on the body and sleeves has the feel of something you might have seen in a second hand shop.
The skirt is reversible without a front or back so can be worn freely allowing the wearer to enjoy the various expressions of the skirt.

Kaoru Oshima
Following a BA in textile design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Kaoru Oshima moved to New York in 2010, taking the newly-established MFA in fashion design and society at Parsons The New School For Design. Presented her graduation collection in 2012 during New York Fashion Week with sponsorship from Loro Piana. While at Parsons, interned at Diane Von Furstenberg. After graduation, worked as a designer for Ralph Lauren Black Label. Returned to Japan in 2014 to launch KÄÄPIÖ. Reason for Selection. With her extensive experience as a knitwear designer,, Kaoru Oshima achieves superb consistency in all areas, from developing new materials and knitted fabrics, to using these to create forms that become products. She had clear potential to make a social contribution as a designer brand capable of invigorating the knitting industry, by collaborating with domestic spinning mills, dyers and knitters.

The sketches that inspire

When Oshima looks at old photographs, the lives and clothes of the people that are captured in these images transcend time, and can often appear fresh and new. Excited to discover how people dressed 70 years ago, she sketched her discoveries, and the sketches in turn became a source of inspiration, resulting in a shrink knit coat designed for this collection.

Design source

Inspiration from photographs, paintings, words and designs. Oshima loves textures…When she collects different images—photographs, paintings, words and designs—it all commences with texture, and texture informs her process. She considers how she can express the texture with knitted fabric, and how she can create a silhouette that best suits that knitted fabric.
Oshima is keen to “create as many knitwear garments as possible that turn the conventional image of knitwear on its head.”

Samples of knitted fabric

Oshima’s collection of knitted fabrics grows every year. She is fascinated by the way that new discoveries can emerge from reviewing fabric that wasn’t used at first because it didn’t reflect her ideas at the time. There’s no “right” knit. Even if the material hasn’t been knitted properly, it can be interesting from a design perspective. At other times, she may seek out a well-knitted fabric that’s like neatly-woven cloth. When you work directly from materials, the possibilities are infinite. What isn’t possible today may become possible later as a result of a new idea, or as the result of technological advances. Oshima senses the infinite possibilities of knitting.

Production process toile

The process of creating a garment with an appropriate balance between the knitted fabric, the materials and the silhouette requires repeated experimentation through fittings. Oshima produces toiles in jersey—a material similar to the knitted fabric—to create a shape that’s as close as possible to the silhouette she envisages. Keeping her initial concept in mind, she works out how the knitted fabric that she’s been imagining can be best used to create the shape that she’s aiming for. Oshima then moves to the next stage, which is to select the yarn or to create the required yarn. It is only when all these elements come together that the shape is realized. The result is knitwear that is nothing less than amazing.

Boiled wool tailored jacket

This tailored jacket is constructed from boiled wool fabric and guarantees the comfort of wearing. The structured silhouette with a curved waist line emphasizes the femininity of the wearer.

Color blocking cardigan

This long cardigan is hand knitted with mixed of finest boucle yarns and chunky cotton yarns. The combination of different textures makes a contemporary style in traditional hand-knitting technique.

Akiko Aoki
Aoki Akiko was born in 1986, in Tokyo, Japan.   After graduating the Joshibi University of Art and Design where she majored in fashion design, Akiko moved to the UK to further study fashion at Central Saint Martins in London. Upon completing her studies, she returned to Japan and after gaining experience as an assistant at a collection brand, from Spring/Summer 2015 started working under the name AKIKO AOKI. Reason for Selection. Akiko Aoki’s first collection demonstrated a high level of creative awareness, not only in her designs, but in the venue and the overall presentation as well. We identified a sophisticated creativity behind her high-impact designs, which promises a bright future.

Using the strict image of a catholic schoolgirl’s uniform, Akiko created a line requiring coordination with other items and for the wearer to arrange the outfits themselves. Also incorporated in the line is the sense of emptiness caused by suppression and the immaturity that comes from being a student, both themes of this season.

From a fashion standpoint, Akiko designed this line based on an androgynous theme, in which the desires to incorporate the styles of both sexes come together.

Ryota Shiga
Born in Fukushima, Japan in 1985. Gained industry experience in Belgium and Italy, then presented his collection in the U.S., Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, and China, receiving many awards. Established RYOTA SHIGA in 2011, changing the name to SHIGA when first exhibiting during Paris Fashion Week in 2014. Working with a theme of harmony between nature and humanity, his designs have untamed elegance, but are delicate and communicate a supple strength. Ryota Shiga was selected for taking his design inspiration from the relationship between nature and humanity, and creating garments that incorporate the techniques of skilled craftspeople from around Japan. He had clear potential to make a social contribution as a brand capable of invigorating apparel manufacturing.

Shiga’s 2016-17 A/W collection, with a theme of Winter Marine, was inspired by Luc Besson’s Le Grand Bleu. Released in Japan in the 1990s, this movie portrayed the silence of the world under the sea, the color, and the vitality of the creatures that live there, telling a story based on true-life experiences. Mixing the film’s worldview with a combination of man-made and nature, Shiga attempted to bring this mix into a modern statement for contemporary street style. The collection includes this double-face needle-punch trench coat.

Fur-sleeved knitted cardigan, using hand-processed pelts.

Long-sleeved sweater with fringes, using hand-processed pelts.

Shiga based his 2017 S/S collection on his own routine as a creator living in the city, but occasionally taking time off to visit nature and expand his inspiration. Despite usually being in tune with a world that is urban, man-made, and speedy, he values the organic forms and the slow passage of time that he finds in nature. Through the collection, he attempted to express a worldview that possesses both of these very different senses. This trench coat, incorporating pleats, is from the collection.

Making process,“Wood pattern cut jacquard"

In order to produce a sense of a movement in the fabric, as if it were alive, regardless of whether the garment is static or being worn, the cuts in the jacquard design are longer than usual. The idea was tested by cutting everything by hand and deciding on the length for the sample.

Cut jacquard dress with wood motifs and French sleeves. The lightness of cotton is combined with glittering lame to produce an elegant impression.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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