Up until the 1980’s the western world had always instigated what was new and on trend. This soon changed when three Japanese designers opened the eyes of many across the world with their garments. Initially in the 1970’s Issey Miyake invented a new concept to structuring pieces. “A Piece of Cloth” was the idea of a flat design, this meant that when the body was covered by one piece of fabric it would create different shapes each time as no one body is the same. This look had never been seen in couture and was massively influenced by traditional Japanese clothes. Miyake continued discovering new artistic techniques in the 80’s with his style of pleating, usually a fabric is cut & sewn into a design and then pleated however Miyake began doing this process in the reverse. Issey Miyake set the body as the basis of clothing creating a completely new type of couture.
In the early 80’s two designers that shocked the world with their innovative creations were Rei Kawakubo & Yohji Yamamoto. Their collections were like no other containing an air of shabby chic that became known as the “beggar look” or “ragged look”. Presented in monochromatic hues, consisting of torn fabric & somewhat shapeless fits, the two were portraying a Japanese concept of beauty which caused controversy in the fashion capitals at the time.
Rei Kawakubo, founder of the avant – garde brand Comme des Garcons is a fashion pioneer. Her nonconformist and iconoclastic visions changed the way of Pret a Porter (ready to wear) on the runway. Although Kawakubos designs were anti-fashion she still succeeded in creating stunning deconstructed & asymmetrical works of art. In the early 80’s this was unheard of, unsurprisingly several journalists slated the look merely due to confusion & perhaps ignorance. Today Comme des Garcons is a high end brand with Rei Kawakubo still designing rebellious looks you’ve never seen before.
Yohji Yamamoto, now a brand well known world-wide in the fashion industry was not always classed as one of the top designers like today. In the 1980’s he was misunderstood the same way as Kawakubo & Miyake. Using oversized silhouettes, single hues & creating a shabbiness to his work startled the industry. His perspective on fashion didn’t follow trends and was completely unconventional. It appeared that Yamamoto’ only influence was Japanese culture & even at that it wasn’t basic Japanese clothing. Yohji Yamamoto was inspired by the farmers of Japan, free of influencing shapes, colours & textiles. In the western world at the time women’s fashion was all about sexuality & glamour which Yamamoto didn’t comply.
Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo & Yohji Yamamoto are three of the most influential fashion designers of the 1980’s. If they hadn’t of made such a massive impact with their ground breaking lines, textiles & anti - fashion designs who knows what path the runway may have taken. Although they opened the minds of future fashion designers around the world they also made another important change to the industry. Tokyo Japan is now considered one of the fashion capitals alongside; Milan, Paris, New York & London. There’s something quite unique culturally, which I believe helps mould new inspiring artists continuously changing the way of fashion.