Japanese designer Yoshikazu Yamagata: ‘I like to hide my message in an amusing way.’


Japanese artists are known for their controversial way of designing. Young designer Yoshikazu Yamagata is one them.

After studying fashion at Central St Martins in London, Yoshikazu returned to Japan. For his graduation collection in 2005, Yoshikazu made 10 big dolls from textiles…..with real people inside, walking along the catwalk. Yamagata based his work on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’. Each ‘doll’ has a personal story to tell and distinctive clothing. With his freak show, this Japanese artist/designer humorously oversteps the boundaries of fashion.

How did you ever got interested in fashion?
“When I was young all my friends were very fashionable and naturally I got influenced. But for more the desire to express myself. I never had confidence or star-like talents when I was small. Fashion was something that made me able to express what I wanted to say in the most passionate and fun way”.

What makes fashion so interesting for you?
“Fashion gives me the answer how I live and how I relate to the other”.

Can you tell us more about your collection ‘The Emperiors New Clothes’ with the dolls?
“My collection always has a story behind. People want to wear invisible clothes and become fashion. I have been making a lot of works based on the ‘story’ behind it. I’m not interested in focusing only on design, details or it’s decoration or functionality. What would be ideal is for the garments to be involved in different directions, design it’s self and for it to be worn by people. At the moment, my work often has ‘story’ as the theme, though this is not intentional”.

And the collection ‘ My town in my home’ where you collaborated with knit-artist Mafuyu?

“It’s kind of things that can be displayed, can be weared, can be played”.

How do you inspire yourself when you start designing your collection?
“Ideas from my childhood and diary life”.


You studied at Central St Martin’s in London. How was it like?

“It was a very free school. And i learned so much about fashion, also with my class mates. That was special”.

You’ve worked for London designer Alexander Mcqueen. How did you meet him?

“My friend was working in his studio and before the show they needed a helper. That’s all! I Just helped with finishing some garments for the last moment. When I helped in his studio, I didn’t found his clothes so great but when I watched the fashion show it was so fantastic! His show was magic”.

Later you worked for the French enfant terrible John Galliano. How was it like working for him?
“I’ve worked with John Galliano as design assistant. I learned so many things! I felt that he respected every fashion movement”.

Can you describe your latest project?

“We expressed these days Japanese society for Japanese….bit ironic. There are many men called “prince” in Japan. It is a kind of popular nickname of cool guy these days. So we want to express the phenomenon and Japanese girl’s imagination of ‘prince on the white horse’. Our princesses are very weird, very typical and unstylish. But on the other hand, they are very sweet.

What are your future plans?
“We want to show our collection around the world. And to collaborate with Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo. She’s the most important designer in my life”.




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