Have you ever heard Yohji speak ? He doesnt use more words than needed, speaks slowly and get his point across. There is a certain sparkle in his eye and a hint of a smiling frown when he talks about things he doesnt like. Two interviews I found : One, Two. I currently don’t dress the way he approves really. But my take home is the deeper message of the creator …. his philosophy, his art, emphasis on form and his wisdom. I have always believed style reflects a deeper philosophy. Even the ones who claim they dont care about clothing, show their core values through their style. The more i read about him, the harder i want to work on my craft. His passion is contagious. This is my part two of notes to myself. I would like to come back here to reference him, when i dont get the time to read his books. Part One can be found here.
For me, a woman who is absorbed in her work, who does not care about gaining one’s favor, strong yet subtle at the same time, is essentially more seductive. The more she hides and abandons her femininity, the more it emerges from the very heart of her existence. A pair of brilliantly cut cotton trousers can be more beautiful than a gorgeous silk gown.
If fashion is clothes, then it is not indispensable. But if fashion is a way of looking at our daily lives, then its very important indeed. Of the so called arts – painting, sculpture, etc – only very few can influence people directly in the way fashion can, or music. Fashion is a unique and fundamental form of communication, that has to do with the feelings of the generation wearing the clothes it has chosen.
On the worn-in :
When fabric is left to age for a year or two, it naturally contracts, and at this point it reveals its charm. The threads have a life of their own, they pass through the seasons and mature. It is only through this process that the true appeal of the fabric is revealed. In releasing one collection after the next on a six-month cycle, it is impossible to design clothing from fabric that has been allowed to age. The intense jealousy I occasionally feel towards used clothing comes from this fact. It was in just such a moment that I thought, “I would like to design time itself”.
Many young people are wearing exactly the same kind of outfits. There is no individuality. The majority is boring. I travel on a sidewalk of fashion, not the main road. From my side of the street, i am shouting “you’re not fashionable” to the crowds.
On androgyny :
Yes, it was like that in japan back then as well. But especially in tokyo the gender boundaries have become blurred the styles have become more unisex. Boys started wearing skirts and the girls wore very masculine looks. Those looks are very important to me.
On Garment making process:
Making a garment means thinking about people.I am always eager to meet people and talk to them. Tts what i like more than anything. What are they doing ? What are they thinking ? How do they lead their lives ? and then i can set to work. I start with the fabric, the actual material, the “feel” of it. I then move on to the form. Possibly what counts most for me is the feel. And then, i start working on the material. I think my way into the form it out to assume.
My style says I love fashion but i quickly became a workaholic so when i wake up, I am very lazy and I am too tired to color coordinate my outfits. I always wear the same clothes. i have five black tshirts, six black trousers and five black jackets on the go all the time. Its like a uniform.
On Perfume :
“A woman should smell gentle.” “Soon after coming to Paris, one day I was in the elevator surrounded by four or five women. They were all wearing strong perfume and each scent was different. The mixture of strong scents was almost killing me in that elevator.” “I decided that OK, I’m going to create a very strong scent which can kill a boy!” “Every woman uses perfume too much,” says the designer. “Japanese people don’t smell; they use the scent on the kimono but they don’t put it on the body – this tradition is still there. So scent is a memory – it stays on the chair after she left. We Japanese have a tendency to enjoy the emotion of missing, enjoying the memory [more than the event].”
I’ve never designed suits for businessmen. I design for outsiders – it can be artists, writers, filmmakers, painters, people who do nothing or homeless. These people don’t have to wear a uniform, so called business wear. They need to express themselves by wearing something strong and personal. Ever since I began, over 35 years ago, i’ve been designing for people outside society.
I feel like i am ripping through my books to make these posts. I don’t think these words stand alone convey the depth of his wisdom. But they are accomplices to his work. His videos ( link 1, link 2 ) come close to showing his personality and why i think of him as Yoda. Part 3 coming up. I save my favourites for the last. His views on : the color Black, Slow fashion, fast fashion, sustainability, modesty, fabric and accessories.