The Fashion Folk S01 ep12 : Akira Isogawa, Isogawa Fashion, [Sydney]
Interview with Akira Isogawa
Traditionally Japanese clothes are shapeless - it is called Kimono. It is based on a square format as far as construction is concerned. Also there is a relationship between the fabric and the body - the space between fabric and body. When the fabric moves, it animates and generates a spontaneous design. My idea of covering is seductive. When you hide things - something unseen, which makes you feel like you want to see it - for me that is more desirable than actually showing everything.
Spiritually Akira means in Japanese "Sun and the Moon", which means light.
I arrived in Sydney when I was 20 on a working holiday visa and working as a
waiter, kitchen hand, tour guide and so on- 15 years ago. Then I decided that I
would actually like to get involved in something more creative and that is when
I enrolled myself in the fashion college of Sydney.
I am based in Sydney which is really a multi-cultural city and I tend to be away
from the idea of that 'its got to be that, its got to be this' when I design, I try to
be as free spirited as possible.
I respect the fact that Australia being so far away affects a lot of the designers
now, especially with the new generation there is fresh power - a willingness to
find its own culture.
Nowadays I believe that it really doesn't matter where you are, as long as you
are willing to travel with what you do, that is really all that counts.
KM – Do you take your collection to Paris?
KM – When do you exhibit in Pairs in October and …
October and March.
KM – Are you an artist or a designer? How do you characterise yourself?
A bit of both - I am determined that I am a designer who designs collection, but
I have a love for art. Within my collection there is always an element, which I
feel true to myself, and then there is another part of it, which is maybe
There is a different level of emotional stage that I go through while designing;
sometimes it is like extreme pain and sometimes there is extreme joy.
Designing, for me is a form of self expression so I do if for myself first of all
and then imagine who could wear what I believe in at the moment, how I feel
right now. For women
KM – So you don't look at the women first and then….
Not really. I look at myself first and it is also inspiration of whatever you are
It has to be practical for the female. It also has to be flattering on the body.
The inspiration comes from me, within myself but then when I get to the stage
of determining, or deciding what has to be in the collection then it is really a
group decision. And then when it comes to the pricing and so on, I am no
longer involved…. I am pretty much detached from that area.
KM – With the Japanese styles that I have seen I don't see this overt
sexuality, I see more mystery. How do you explain that?
I think it has a lot to do with styling. Traditionally Japanese clothes are
shapeless - it is called Kimono. It is based on a square format as far as
construction is concerned. Also there is a relationship between the fabric and
the body - the space between fabric and body. When the fabric moves, it
animates and generates a spontaneous design like itself.
My idea of covering is seductive. When you hide things - something unseen,
which makes you feel like you want to see it - for me that is more desirable
than actually showing everything.
I definitely see myself as being heavily influenced by Japanese culture in that
sense or Eastern culture, but at the same time I believe in something new. I
am not designing Kimonos - I am designing for the 21st Century.
Couture dresses are constructed by draping on a mannequin so that it shapes
beautifully according to the body shape, whereas Japanese designs are more
set about the shape.
KM – They are not worried about the body shape?
No not really, not at all. They are more focused on colour and texture and the
I am really interested in mixing those two elements together and fusing them to
create something new.
Usually I source inspiration while I travel like when I am in India and visit some
hand embroiders and see what is happening and then I come back and start
receiving swatches of fabric and then I sort of bring all those little swatches
together and then …
KM – It talks to you.
That is when I can start mixing things, colours and so on. And understand
exactly what it could be.
For example, if it is some sort of partially textured fabric then where it could be
and if there is a partial body in the fabric then maybe it would be fantastic
because it could add some body on the shoulder for instance. And that is how I
start to sketch.
KM – You build from there.
Australia being young, there is a certain energy that you feel that you can do
anything really. You create your own recipe.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Akira Isogawa, Isogawa Fashion, Sydney