May 28, 2023

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History of Issey Miyake and His Journey to Becoming a Fashion Icon

Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake is a Japanese fashion designer who founded his eponymous brand in 1985. His designs combine traditional techniques and modern sensibilities with the aim of creating beautiful clothing that transcends seasonal trends. The Issey Miyake brand is renowned for its use of experimental fabrics, such as the fragmented spider silk used in his signature double-faced wool coats in 2001. In this article, we explore Issey Miyake’s history, his impact on the fashion industry, and his personal life away from the spotlight.

Issey Miyake’s Journey to Becoming a Fashion Icon

The journey to becoming a fashion icon is not one that every designer is able to complete. For every Karl Lagerfeld, there are countless creators whose names are lost to history. At times, this journey is fraught with difficulties, as designers encounter financial struggles, creative disputes, and personal tragedies. For Issey Miyake, becoming a fashion icon was a long, arduous journey. He began his career in Tokyo, Japan, in the early 1960s. Working as a designer at a company called the House of Miyake, he was tasked with designing women’s garments. A decade later, he became the director of the company, a position he held for over three decades.

Issey Miyake’s Signature Design Elements

Throughout his career as a designer, Issey Miyake has become associated with certain apparel and design elements:

– Japanese aesthetics: Issey Miyake has used traditional Japanese aesthetics as inspiration for his designs. He has also used Japanese design motifs such as woven fabrics, kimono sleeves, and origami-like pleats.

– Comfort: An important component of Issey Miyake’s design philosophy is comfort. He has endeavored to create garments that are both beautiful and easy to wear.

– Fragmented silhouettes: One of Issey Miyake’s signature design elements has been the fragmented silhouette of his garments. He has also experimented with using transparent fabrics and unusual cuts to create unique silhouettes.

Issey Miyake as Cultural Commentary

Throughout his career, Issey Miyake’s designs have often been interpreted as cultural commentary. As a Japanese designer, he has incorporated elements that are specific to Japanese culture. Miyake has also focused his designs on the female form. Miyake’s aesthetic has been interpreted as symbolic of a post-war Japanese aesthetic. Many of his designs have featured muted colors, garment shapes that are distinctly Japanese, and fabrics that are associated with traditional Japanese culture, such as raffia and hemp. Miyake’s aesthetic has also been interpreted as a commentary on gender. His early designs incorporated a distinct femininity, with long kimono sleeves, billowing fabrics, and the use of silk. Later, his designs were more unisex, featuring short sleeves and bold, geometric patterns.

Issey Miyake’s Outfits Are Celebrated in Pop Culture

Throughout his career, Issey Miyake’s designs have been embraced by pop culture figures. The singer Diana Ross wore a “Little Jacket” designed by Issey Miyake to the 1991 Grammy Awards, while the singer Rihanna has frequently worn Miyake’s designs. Miyake has also designed outfits for many Hollywood stars. The actress Helen Hunt has worn many of his designs, as has the model Naomi Campbell. His work has also been worn by the actresses Sharon Stone, Rachel Weisz, and the model Kate Moss. While many of these outfits are custom-made for each wearer, some are available to the public. For example, the Little Jacket that Diana Ross wore to the 1991 Grammy Awards can be purchased online.

Issey Miyake’s Product Line: From Fragrance to Furniture

Over the course of his career, Issey Miyake has expanded his design empire to include many other products. While some of these products are extensions of his garment designs, others are completely unrelated to fashion. For example, Miyake has collaborated with the Swiss fragrance house Givaudan to create fragrances. Some of his fragrances include Eau du Sud, L’eau d’Issey, and L’eau d’Issey pour Homme. Other products include furniture and kitchenware. Miyake’s kitchenware is designed to be functional, with items that are easy to clean and store. Miyake has also designed a line of furniture, which features bold, geometric designs, and colorful upholstery.


Issey Miyake is a Japanese fashion designer who has become a household name due to his eponymous fashion brand. Throughout his career, he has designed garments that are bold and colorful, and often incorporate traditional Japanese aesthetics. Miyake’s designs have been interpreted as cultural commentary on post-war Japan and gender, and they have been celebrated in pop culture by many Hollywood stars. His product line has expanded to include furniture and kitchenware, and he has collaborated with many fragrance houses. As a fashion icon, Issey Miyake has challenged conventions and expectations surrounding design, and he has created stunning, original works of art that are worn by both men and women.