The moment I looked at his designs, I knew it. It was exactly what I envisaged in terms futurism and space wear. Fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto is famed for his androgynous, directional spin on traditionally feminine avant-garde signs and combines simplicity, with dark designs and signature aesthetics.
It is well known that when Designer Yamamoto launched his label in 1981, introducing a dark approach to luxury womenswear it not only caught the attention of many, it shook the industry. Having studied at the design school Bunka Fashion College, and then one year’s placement in Paris, it would be fair to say the exposure in Japan and abroad had a marked impact on him.
Black – is a colour that encapsulates so many things;
“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time,” he told The New York Times in 2000. “Black is easy and lazy but mysterious … But above all black says this: ‘I don’t bother you. Don’t bother me.’”
Some would describe Yamamoto’s design as all black, all-engulfing, with a spin, with bold black colours and it commands a kind of attention, particularly in relation to seeking the details.
“His garments are designed to last beyond seasons, and there’s a continued idea of concealing rather than revealing the body,” says Ligaya Salazar, the curator behind the V&A Museum’s 2011 retrospective and celebration of Yamamoto’s work. “He starts every design with fabric as opposed to silhouette. It’s a typically Japanese approach.”
“Yamamoto took a totally different approach to every other designer in Paris in the ’80s and ’90s,” says Salazar. “It offered the industry a release from what was typically considered to be ‘high fashion’.”
It is well known, that when Designer Yamamoto opened his first Parisian store in 1981, and presented at the first Fashion Fashion Week runaway in which his fellow Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo also exhibited her label, Comme des Garçon that it somewhat took the fashion community by surprise. It was their similar focus on imperfection and asymmetric cuts.
Kawakubo and Yamamoto propose a startling contrast to the excess of the 1980s: cerebral, intellectual, deconstructed, raw. Their clothes are like existential puzzles rendered in tattered scraps of black, enveloping the wearer in the cascading folds of a dissected kimono. As aggressions against the conventions of Western beauty, they exude an air of disagreement that is as satisfying to indulge as it is to reject. The fashion establishment is quickly organized into two camps: those who get it and those who do not. Most fall into the latter. And so Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto become the unofficial uniform of the in-the-know fashion editor.
“This is [one of] the final industries that is finished by hand, which I like,” Yamamoto once told The Business of Fashion. “I’m still focused on how to cut and how to make movement beautiful. It’s very important to me that the design of all my clothes is done in this way.”
In 2003, he launched a new menswear label that pioneered the fusion of fashion and technology introducing sports- luxe style to the world and now Y-3 has standalone stores and is stocked at online retail giants Farfetch and Mr. Porter. “It’s the perfect blend of style and function, and, as one of the first cult sportswear lines on the market, it elevated streetwear style while contributing to the rise in sneaker popularity,” says contemporary buyer at Mr Porter, George Archer.
It provides men with an opportunity to play with shape and movement,” he says. “His layering pieces, long hem lines and dark colours are consistent across seasons and are easy to wear.”
So what is the connection between Designer Yohji Yamamoto and outerspace and more importantly NewSpace?
In my humble opinion – absolutely. Whilst NewSpace predominantly is about functional in the sense of lowering cost, making things more efficient to go to space, drawing upon space applications. Readers will notice that I have defined and am re-defining NewSpace. Given that the market size of space and fashion is about the same approximately $350 billion, I would say that the opportunity and ambition could be aligned.
Yohji Yamamoto‘s designs is what I would envisage space farers wearing as they go on their first mission to develop a colony in outerspace. Of course we have many images and depictions of what could work and there are no short of ideas from films and in the past, however, there is a deeper connection in the idea of what fashion represents here.
Space from what we know is the unknown, the Universe is dark, save for what we are shown from photos and images. The depths and levels of the composition of Universe is multilayered, we speak of a multiverse and these theories are just that, we do not know for sure – what is and hence the curiosity that arouses us about space.
Designer Yamamoto‘s designs create a sense of mystery by design, his concept of beauty, one could contend is a traditional and modest one. Sublime, subtle and natural.
The fact that designer Yamamoto has teamed up with Adidas to explore technology is a positive indication that there is a sense of pushing the boundaries, of seeing how far we could go.
Anti-fashion was a kind of sentiment he expressed in a recent interview and this idea of experimental, self-defining and self-preserving mentality I think would help as humans explore the notion of what it means to be human and embark into outer space as interplanetary species.
What do you think makes a successful Newspace entrepreneur?
What are you thoughts on space, fashion and avant garde?
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