Pleats Please Issey Miyake

Statement of Issey Miyake

As a result of bearing witness to the „May 1968“ Revolution in Paris, I had a revelation that changed my vision of clothes making, forever. I realized that clothing, from here on, needed to appeal to a wider audience than that of yesterday’s haute couture. I knew I needed to find ways by which to create clothing that would be integral to people’s lives and be designed to suit their lifestyles. I have been designing since the 1970s, showing my collections in Paris, each another step along the path to my goal.

The first major breakthrough in that quest came in the PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE, clothes as product, that was born out of the research and development of pleats that I started in 1988. In 1998, Dai Fujiwara (creative director of ISSEY MIYAKE since 2007/2008 Autumn/Winter Collection), and I presented yet another evolution of my touchstone, called „A-POC“ A Piece of Cloth. In 1999, I turned the design of the collection over to Naoki Takizawa (from the 2000 Spring/Summer Collection). Since then, I have remained active in the design scene, staying involved with A-POC while maintaining an ongoing work-based dialogue with small groups, or sometimes even one-on-one, with the younger members of the ISSEY MIYAKE team.

In 2003 an essay, I wrote entitled „Time to Create a Design Museum“, that was published in a Japanese newspaper. The response and support was immediate and as a result, we began to work with renowned architect Tadao Ando to create 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, which is located in Tokyo Midtown.

Each project initiated by 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT offers an opportunity for us me, along with 21_21 Directors Taku Satoh and Naoto Fukasawa to join hands and minds with people from every area of design to explore the future and potential of the field. As a result, I am even more fervently convinced of the importance of considering social issues that are relevant to or impact on our work.

It goes without saying that our clothing has to be relevant, but the problems that modern society faces are more complex than ever. Not only are there environmental issues and dwindling resources, but there is also the danger of our losing our most valuable resource: human skill. There is an urgency and necessity to start training people who are capable of tackling a variety of problems. In 2007, I directed an exhibition at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT entitled „XXIst Century Man“ in which we referred to a book written by a planetary physicist about the history of the earth to present, as well as that of mankind. As a result, my sense of urgency that we must do something to save our resources, human and natural, has become even stronger.

Part of that desire, I know, is specific to Japan: the country has an unrivaled history of skills and knowledge in matters of „making things“, yet those very qualities are endangered. Modern circumstances prevent locales committed to production and talented human resources from practicing their skills and passing them on to new generations. Designers must not think egotistically about future trends but should consider the problem that is here, now. We cannot afford to look at this problem as leisurely spectators, as though it does not affect us.

My hope is that, by encouraging new design and creation, there will be a means to move towards a new era in which people and companies will feel needed and in the process, rediscover the energy and sense of pride in their work that goes along with it. I am stepping up my visits to our affiliated production plants and partner companies taking the younger teams from the Miyake Design Studio with me to start a new dialogue. 132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE comes partly as a result of the, I hope, ongoing dialogue that has been opened. The keywords to this project are „recycling“ and „regeneration“. It is a line that will be comprised of clothes and other products that utilize the features of recycled fibers.

Multiple projects are underway at the Reality Lab, and its members continue to travel all around the country. It is committed to reviving precious arts and techniques by which to make things that the Japanese people have forgotten precisely because those with the skills are disappearing. Each member of the team needs to bring their views to the table and through their voices, find ways to move forward.


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Dezember 2018
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