Japan has produced some of the world’s most celebrated avant-garde designers. They reshaped the way the Western world viewed fashion in the 1960s by, amongst many other things, shunning the premise of women as sexual objects.
Since then, designers such as Kenzo Takada, Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe have used left-field shapes, high-tech fabrics and radically different fashion philosophies to change the industry forever. Interestingly, they all have roots in the same place: the Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo.
Back in October of last year, Business of Fashion took an in-depth look at the school and why its effect on the industry has been so profound and wide-ranging. “Before designing anything, students must understand the human body shape and how human bodies move,” explains Professor Sanae Kosugi, dean of Bunka Fashion Graduate University and former classmate of Yohji Yamamoto. “Every student, whether they’re studying design or merchandising, has to study this first. To know the body well is very important.”
The school also measures its students and produces mannequins matching the average to be more reflective of real people, rather than using the standard Dritz dummies used in Paris, Milan and elsewhere. Kosugi explains that students should make clothes "not only for people we consider ‘good looking,’ but also the elderly, children and those with disabilities."
Bunka has five key values it hopes to instil in its students: craft, sustainability, contribution to society, self-expression and most importantly, collaboration. Kosugi says,
"The most important thing to know is not about clothes, but how to work with others. You cannot work alone in the fashion industry, or even the world."
According to BoF, Bunka’s ethos stems from the values underlying Japanese culture and the two key concepts practiced within it — the drive to achieve satori, an enlightenment that is the reward for intense concentration on the task at hand, and kaizen, a way of thinking about continuous improvement.
Head over to BoF to read the piece in full.
Also, be sure to take a look at Y-3’s forthcoming FW16 sneaker collection.