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Issey Miyake: Man Of Pleats. And Steam. And Bake-Sales. 三宅一生,日本服装制造商.

Graphic god and technology guru in the eyes of many a Fashion Week attendee, master of Arts in the reflecting glasses of many a pleats-pressing Parson's student and Mr. Miyage in the minds of many a man (in fashion terms... average Joe remains a Mr. Magoo).

The honorary title “Man Of Steel” may be slightly better known to mankind, but within the realms of fashion design, Issey Miyake is considered to be a real DC Superman. The name in itself stretches a long way and always steams ahead in terms of both space and time. Miyake: Man Of 3D.

Design is not for philosophy; it’s for life. Issey Miyake

Graphic god and technology guru in the eyes of many a Fashion Week attendee, master of Arts in the reflecting glasses of many a pleats-pressing Parson’s student and Mr. Miyagi in the minds of many a man (I love you all with even the nails of my tiny tippy toes, but in fashion terms average Joe remains Mr. Magoo).

 

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A plea for pleats

Miyake has since the 1970s managed to build and expand a brand which presents itself to the world as one brightly shining progressive buoy in a sea of fleeting fashion design. Ever the technologically forward daredevil, moving ahead at the speed of that tasmanian one, the brand established itself as an ever-surprising heavy hitter from the Parisian to New York (where it debuted in 1971) and Tokyo catwalks.

“From the beginning I thought about working with the body in movement, the space between the body and clothes. I wanted the clothes to move when people moved.” Issey Miyake

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“Technology is the way forward; it’s the future of fashion.” Yoshiyuki Miyamae. 

Full steam ahead

Issey Miyake’s Creative Director anno 2017 Yoshiyuki Miyamae effortlessly continues to work on the anarchistic patterns that sprang from his Master’s mind some 30 years ago — give or take, peeps, give or take. Without a glitch, hitch or stitch,  the brand weaves together traditional Japanese culture (think of the latest Haro collection featuring reversible kimonos based on the woodbpock-printed design “Dream of a Fisherman’s Wife” by the Japanese artist Katsushika  Hokusai) with the latest trends in engineering technology. “Technology is the way forward; it’s the future of fashion,” quote Miyamae.

The Miyake focus lies on being innovative and creative with technology; a challenge Miyamae is time and again happy to accept. The gusto with which this particular designer makes waves will surely turn the face of many a “[insert country] Bake Off” contestant 50 blusher shades darker. His most recent venture includes the creation of a new type of material which under the influence of heat (i.e. steam) will vigorously contract itself into rigorously stiff three-dimensional structures. And thus, after three long years of developing and perfecting, the 3D Steam Stretch was finally able to bask in the bright runway lights.

Appearing to reflect some old-school origami design, one obviously folded and shaped by steam instead of by hand, this technique beneath its unbending surface hides a far more tempestuous techie personality than is apparent at first sight. The skilled handiwork required to take every figment of the fashionable imagination from yarn to woven materials, is crucial. Handwash, on the other hand, is not — a 30 degrees tumble in your washing machine is comes with the price tag. From Miyake to Whirlpool: Sensing the difference. (Well hello there, product placement!)

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“I have always been interested in conducting research that yielded new methods by which to make cloth, and in developing new materials that combine craftsmanship and new technology. But the most important thing for me is to show that, ultimately, technology is not the most important tool; it is our brains, our thoughts, our hands, our bodies, which express the most essential things.” Issey Miyake 

About that bake-sale

Baking with glue: The dream of every toddler, the nightmare of all mothers and the inspiration for the Miyamaes of the world. Aside from his steaming hot 3D (ad)venture, the Miyake brand decided to purchase a number of big bake-off ovens and in doing so launched a process which bases itself on the mixing and matching of heat-reactive glue with textile — and subsequently throws them into the oven like the happy Taiyaki (鯛焼き, a Japanese fish-shaped cake) couple they are. Truth be told, for a plum wine drinking non-baking aficionada à la Moi, this so-called “cooking lingo” might as well all be written in hiragana/katakana/kanji (take your pick). Either way, once the oven is up to excruciating temperature, the glue will expand and thus form the mold for those celebrated Miyake pleats. “A whole new door of expression with pleats has been opened!” Miyamae.

In these high-paced fashion times when the garment quality an Sich often moves a woman to shedding one single glistening tear that gently streams down her healthy cream blush cheek, the Miyake label is and will always be a rebel. With a sustainable wearable tech cause. From pleating to steaming and baking… The handicraft is decisive, not the haste. The proof is in the pudding, I’d say.

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Images: Copyright@Temper Magazine