The Fashion Folk S03 ep7 : Eley Kishimoto, Kishimoto Fashion, [London]

Interview with Eley Kishimoto

Eley Kishimoto are surface Decorators. Fundamentally striving to make the world a prettier place, Eley Kishimoto create work that is clear in intention, executed simply, and with creative flair; they do not succumb to trends and fads. Instead the vision is clear and in the forefront, fashion is used as a platform to communicate with a wide and varied audience. From a partnership forged in the early 90's, Eley Kishimoto quickly gained a reputation for incisive and intelligent print design with their work being displayed on the catwalks of the world through work with Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Alber Elbaz and Jil Sander, to name but a few. In the mid 90's the partnership moved into the fashion world with the launch of their first womenswear collection; this proved to be such a success that the company has produced collections ever since. The principle activity is womenswear fashion, but Eley Kishimoto has already worked with partners to offer footwear, hosiery, sunglasses, leather belts, and various 'flash' collaborations, under the umbrella of womenswear mainline.


Nature of our company is graphic surface. The story based upon home about kind of the normality
mundanity of the cross information from playing game boys to having very, very patterned
wallpaper and it’s just a mix of all those different cultures. What we kind of liked best is cotton is
a core, the randomness is kind of what you see in your grandma’s home, the collection of maybe
50, 60 years of different genres all put on to one plate.

Yeah we have our own factory in south London. The majority of those are all printed in house, we
have a chemist lab so we can do all bases, all mediums, all substrates.

It’s all … hand write it, it’s textile in principal, L.. is obviously Japanese educated in England
partnered by myself so therefore it’s a fusion of all these things. It’s a commitment to what we
started off say 12, 15 years ago and we’re just being true to our commitment and seeing it through
season after season and just giving it new stories and new angles.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

The silhouette and the pattern comes together, it’s not one or t’other, they grow in harmony.
Sometimes the pattern drives the silhouette, sometimes the silhouette drives the pattern. It’s quite
organic the way that we build a collection.

Some of this may be going to architecture. We always launch it within the fashion arena but then
we’ve given our patterns and our kind of colours and identities and our stories an afterlife, after six
months when this gets through the sale in the stores, then they go elsewhere, they go to cars, they
go to interiors, they go to graphics, hopefully have a bit more longevity than what normal fashion
kind of identities have.

We’re surface decorators. The world’s the surface, got many surfaces to decorate.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

We’re craftspeople in Brixton. We have our print tables, we play in loads of different mediums
which we’re not frightened of and we’re open to experiment with it. We’re basically doing what
we like to do the best we can with our own abilities.

We’re currently working with the biggest digital print company in Japan who’s responsible for
75% of the automotive industry so they’ve got 5,000 employees, they’ve got the biggest plants we
know by digital printing but we do like analogue.

Kostas: Is the fashion side more for promotion or is it real fashion business?

No we’re fashion designers, this is what we went to school to study. I studied in Brighton, I’m a
weaver, … St Martin’s fashion.

Our kind of approach with our aesthetic, everything is intimate as perhaps what you say, with the
couture fabrics. But our intention is not to make things look over complicated, to make it simple
but beautiful.

Jewellery Theatre Elements

It’s kinetic art. That’s what it is. When you, when someone sees our pattern and they pass
somebody else’s pattern they have harmony, they have a relationship. That fission is my beauty.

You may have something that kind of sitting in your room all the time but you because it’s so
normal you don’t even notice it’s there. Without questioning whether it goes or it matters with a
new purchase of a computer you don’t even question because it’s so part of the environment. So
that’s the kind of a little contrast that you don’t even question because it’s so inbred in your
environment, that’s the kind of something that I wanted to do this season.

I start with the sketching, doodling, pencil a little pen, marker pen, that’s how it can start and then
you know sometimes it goes with the digital process just because the ease of sending some data
would be cheaper than sending some courier but I still do the full screen sized positive negative
myself, that’s the, that’s what I normally do but we do kind of mix with other techniques etc but
personally I still find it kind of comfortable in a place that I can sort of quickly draw something
and then do something by myself.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

My grandfather was a great calligrapher. That sort of rely on accident a little bit the calligraphy,
the how the, obviously you need to know your tools, your brush, the kind of health the strength,
screen printing you always try to the basic thing is obviously you can sort of change it, you try to
do everything the last one is the same as the second one, that’s the kind of nature of the process.
We always worry about whether we can repeat it or not. I think it’s because we’re in the industry
that we do the sample like you saw on the catwalk today, we take the order to the buyers, it’s we
believe that’s our job, or we used to believe that’s our job, to deliver what they’ve seen exactly
how it is, but I think there’s a room in, I think the people want something a little bit richer now.

When you’re dealing with pattern okay there’s inspiration there’s a spontaneity, but also
sometimes it’s really mathematical as well which is I think, I find it quite beautiful that you can
solve it intellectually manoeuvre certain things.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Eley Kishimoto, Kishimoto Fashion, London