It can’t be overstated how influential Japanese born fashion designer Issey Miyake was. He opened doors for fashion designers of Japanese descent with his hugely successful fashion label and subsequent fragrance lines. The Issey Miyake office announced on August 5th that the beloved fashion designer has passed away at the age of 84. There are dozens of online tributes and biographies flooding the internet detailing the celebrated designer’s 84 years of life.
I wanted to take a moment and reflect on 5 points about Issey Miyake’s vibrant life and career.
Supported the Disarmament of nuclear warheads
Issey Miyake was born in Hiroshima in 1938. The injuries he sustained from the horrific bomb that was dropped on the city in 1945 left him with a limp that followed him into adulthood. The fashion designer voiced his support of the disarmament of nuclear weapons in a 2009 op-ed published in the New York Times. This was the first time he’d spoken about his experience publicly.
Moved to Paris in 1965 to Study Fashion
Issey Miyake studied graphic design at Tama Art University in Tokyo before relocating to Paris. He enrolled at the school of tailoring and dressmaking École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Issey would eventually go on to work with Guy Laroche and Hubert de Givenchy. He would later become the first designer of Japanese descent to show in Paris.
Innovated Sewing and Design Techniques in the 1980’s
In the 1980’s Issey Miyake created a fabric that could expand vertically through hundreds of tiny folds, an inspiration he’d drawn from early 1900’s Delphos gowns designed by Henriette Negrin and her husband Mariano Fortuny. The brand would later create a permanently pleated garment that was simultaneously comfortable while incredibly stylish and fashion forward.
Incorporated Dance into his work and Fashion Shows
Friends with Steve Jobs
Steve Job’s would become a lifelong regular with Issey Miyake’s brand with his signature black turtleneck. Issey Miyake designed Steve Job’s turtleneck sweaters, a piece that the Apple CEO was often seen in.