Ensemble by Issey Miyake, Courtesy of MOMA

Brittany Benjamin, writing for the Harvard Advocate, analyzes the inimitable fashion designer, Issey Miyake. She begins her essay with her own personal experience in a Miyake creation:

“I was eighteen the time I wore an ISSEY MIYAKE dress, and it immediately struck me: there was too much fabric. The sleeves were three times the length of my arms—the neck, intended for a giraffe. It fit me like a glove, but it flowed past the floor, pooling around my feet. But procuring some scissors, the shop girls explained: “Make of it what you want.” They pointed to some lines deftly hidden in the fabric. “There are many options.” And just like that, the consumer becomes the creator and the boutique becomes a personal workshop.

An inversion of the consumer-creator relationship and a reconsideration of the place of technology and engineering in fashion design, the dress was a product of the now famous collaboration between Issey Miyake and Dai Fujiwara.

Viewed today as the Godfather of Japanese fashion, Miyake already had world renowned for his groundbreaking designs. Miyake created the ISSEY MIYAKE design studio in 1970, and spent the following decades challenging the conventional shapes and European traditions of high fashion.”

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Issey Miyake

Miyake is an example of the creative explosion that was happening in design during the 1970’s and 1980’s, when designers were being asked to challenge what we filled our spaces with and how those things should be composed. Look at some of the creations of the era and see the architectural tone of design at work. What are these designers responding to? How are they visually engaging in cultural conversations around them?

Architectural Fashion 80s