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an an ∙ september 20 1977

an an ∙ september 20 1977


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print spotlight featuring a 33 year old yohji yamamoto, 5 years following the launch of y's. this was during the early days of japan's "DC" (designer) brand boom, where domestic ready-to-wear labels with a stronger sense of individuality gained widespread popularity. major department stores spearheaded this movement, curating multi-brand spaces where many designers including yohji and rei would open their earliest boutiques. while still unknown outside of japan at the time, y's was finding breakthrough success in the domestic market, with a remarkable 66 stockists nationwide. this period in his career is referred to as "the lost decade" by the designer himself, and is outlined in detail at this blog article here.


published by heibon shuppan co. ltd.
softcover ∙ 23 x 30 cm ∙ 1 pp

Yohji Yamamoto (Y's)

A sense of everyday wear for the urban environment is the foundation of his design. Created for uncompromising individuals, those with a mature consciousness...

"Since I was a child, I loved drawing and making things."

Perhaps it was the influence of his mother, who ran a dressmaking shop. He studied at Keio University's faculty of law, but after completing four years there, he enrolled in Bunka Fashion College.

"I intended to help out at my mother's shop, so I needed to at least understand the basics of sewing. While studying at Bunka, I learned about competitions like the Soen Award. I thought they might provide financial support if I won, so I worked hard to participate and succeed."

After winning the Soen and Endo Awards, he studied haute couture in Paris for a year after graduating from Bunka. Upon returning to Japan, he had his own studio, worked for magazines, and also ran a made-to-order operation for 2-3 years.

"While studying the tradition of clothing through haute couture was valuable, I didn't like the feeling of selling myself in a way. I really wanted to work on ready-to-wear clothing, so I founded a company called "Y's". In the first year, I was quite lost and had many misconceptions about what to do."

"Y's started about four years ago. Currently, we distribute to about 66 stores nationwide. In Tokyo, our designs are available at Shibuya Parco, Aoyama Bell Commons, and our own store, Boutique Y's, is also doing well."

The essence of urban everyday wear defines his current designs. His customers range from those in their early 20's to stylish women in their 60's and 70's, reflecting a wide age group. It seems to be favored by 'career-oriented individuals' in the truest sense of the word.

"Those who do not compromise, be it in work, relationships with men, or family matters. A beautiful person with a sharp gaze. Someone with a mature consciousness... I intend to create designs for people like this. A woman who is between 150-160 cm and above, is good at dressing, and has a lively background. I recently went to Paris, and Parisian women felt like overripe fruits."

"My personal preference is for women who are a bit taller. The type of Japanese women I admire have a more refined and alluring charm."

He says there is no need for Japanese women to have a complex about Paris. In Tokyo's boutiques, he insists, there are clothes that rival those in Paris, and their sensibilities are second to none. He is a person brimming with confidence as a creator.

He excels in ample gathers and relaxed, mature dresses. Even with jackets, he doesn't opt for stiff fabrics; instead, he creates a smooth, flowing atmosphere throughout.

He works with unique colors such as khaki, sepia, and muted greys, many of which are custom developed fabrics he created himself. There is also a signature focus on cotton. His autumn clothing, with a sporty feel softened by gentle fabrics, is particularly striking.

"I don't like people who wear clothes that look like they're from a wealthy family or were bought by their parents," he says. In honesty, he wants to create men's clothing for women. He chuckled, saying he can't create clothes that make women look too feminine when they're off work.

Born in Tokyo, he will turn 34 years old this October.
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