1971 Miyake’s intentions where
To discover the traditional beauty of a Japan which is disappearing; to emphasise the importance of industrially produced clothes by using synthetic materials; to demonstrate the secret beauty of Japanese women. I am striving to create clothes which give paramount importance to the movement of the body. Rather than fashion that one puts on, I want to produce fashion that one takes off...for that is where the beauty of man’s primitive spirit is found. (Tokyo Vogue p44)
Even though Miyake gained traditional Western training he wanted to find his own way of making fashion explaining “Western tradition in clothing seemed to me to be too rigid. I wanted to create things that could be free, both mentally and physically” (Marie-Andre Jouve, 1997, p.11). He returned home to Japan, after training under French courtiers and the American designer Geoffrey Beene, to rediscover the aesthetic and rich craft culture of his homeland. His design practice challenged the Western system by referencing his Japanese heritage, he always maintained that he does not want to suggest Japanese culture with his clothing but to “be between cultures” (O’Brien, 1993,p.23 as cited in Kawamura, 2004, p.96).
Miyake’s earliest designs were made from sashiko (a form of decorative reinforcement stitching ) quilted fabric , in styles originally worn by peasants and sumo wrestlers. He, however , cut the fabric more generously and adapted it to modern use. His designs were very loose and built like a piece of clay sculpture, not based on the human figure. Miyake wanted the ...
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... of the colour black. To the Japanese the colour black is not drab but a sign of restraint and dignity. Black is associated with self -discipline, Samurai wore darker kimonos with expensive decorated linings which were private and subtle as opposed to the western preference for in your face glamour. This preference for subtlety is evident in Buddhism where there is an appreciation of simplicity, poverty and an acceptance of imperfection.
An everyday task, the Japanese tea ceremony, became an artistic ritual representative of the importance of simplicity.
His clothes favoured asymmetry, folds and pleats, exposed stitching, found objects and accidents.
Another trademark of Japanese fashion is its conceptual approach and its questioning of Western fashion. One of the ways Miyake did this was by using older non professional models aged between 62 and 92 years of age
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