Perhaps the future of fashion will not only be about designing what’s on the surface of the human body but also about designing the body itself. Japanese couturier Yuima Nakazato, known for his experimental approach to fashion, presented his Spring 2021 couture collection during the digital outing of Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week.
The designer invited Ms. Lauren Wasser, a muse to this collection, and designed a couture piece based on the inspiration gained from dialogues held with her online.
On the occasion of the collection reveal, our Editor Katarina Djoric spoke to Yuima Nakazato and his muse Lauren Wasser about the collaboration, the new collection, as well as the future of couture and fusion of fashion and technology.
Read the interviews after the jump:
Where did your fascination with technology stem from?
Technology is indeed fascinating but technology isn’t my obsession. I always have a vision and technology is merely just a tool to help release this vision. In my case the vision is the celebration of individuality. I feel the traditional way of garment making has lots of wonderful elements, but at the same time I think it carries legacy. To me technology is the tool and way of updating such legacy, to evolve fashion and garment making.
For me, the humane element in designing and garment making process is the close relationship between the designer and the wearer, the system where people can see who is making your garment, design specifically created for each individual, and I think this spirit is exactly the heart of couture.
How do you start your work on a new collection?
It really depends on each collection, but I usually expand and make it evolve from a tiny hint or something inspires meーit can be a beautiful landscape, it can be a something happened, it can be something in nature, but this specific time for this collection ATLAS, it all began from encountering with a specific person, Ms. Lauren Wasser. Her strength to overcome difficulties, how she fights for those who suffer in similar ways, how much she loves nature, inspired me of a heroic figure in myth and legend, and this collection was created.
The global pandemic is changing the fashion industry – fashion weeks are going digital, while clothes are becoming virtual. Fashion houses and designers have had to adapt. How did you respond?
The trigger was this global health crisis, but I think this transformation was meant to happen. My previous collection, Face to Face, which we’ve done as a charity project last July, was exactly how I responded to this pandemic situation. I truly believe it will be more and more important, and crucial that the fashion industry transforms from mass production, mass consumption structure to a more personalized structure. And in order to do so, I think a bond between the designer and the wearer would be the key, and that is one of the highlights of the Face to Face, as well as this collection ATLAS.
I believe couture is the future of fashion, and high tech will be the key tool to expand couture to many people.
Can you talk about how you combine handwork with technology and the relationship of the machine to the couture?
It is always about the combination of technology and handwork. One must not disregard or overlook the matter which only handwork can do and machines cannot, and vice versa. Acknowledging and merging these two I believe, is the most sublime act you can take today. For example, TYPE-1 is a technology in which we can create a garment without using a needle and thread, but at the end it requires a human hand to assemble the pieces, or to repair. Biosmocking is a technology in which we can create a three dimensional fabric without producing any waste, but again it requires craftsmanship, to design and assemble the three dimensional pieces. It is natural for me that the technology, machine, and human hand all take part of its own in couture.
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Despite the strong emphasis on technology, how important is the human element in your work and why?
Human element is rather important, and technology is a tool to achieve creation, and resolve challenges. Emotional exchange of the energy between two humans is something that definitely cannot be replaced or excelled by machine. For me, the humane element in designing and garment making process is the close relationship between the designer and the wearer, the system where people can see who is making your garment, design specifically created for each individual, and I think this spirit is exactly the heart of couture. I strongly believe this spirit gives us a hint for the future of the fashion industry, and moreover, for a more sustainable society and ultimately for human well-being.
You are interested in the technological development of fabric, and experiment with numerous prototypes and fabrication techniques, like Brewed Protein and Biosmocking. Can you tell me more about it?
Brewed Protein is a synthetic protein material, produced through a microbial fermentation process. This is a biobased, microplastic free and animal free material, which you can control the physical properties by designing it from the molecule level. Biosmocking, is a technology leveraging a specific type of Brewed Protein fabric. Leveraging the unique property of Brewed Protein where it shrinks when it touches water, by precisely controlling the shrinkage by digital printing technology, Biosmocking enables us to create a super complicated three dimensional fabric, from a rectangular fabric without producing any waste.
Is high tech the future of couture?
I believe couture is the future of fashion, and high tech will be the key tool to expand couture to many people. Historically, couture was only for very limited people, but by leveraging technology, I strongly hope we can build a system where many people can enjoy couture.
Are there technologies that you haven’t yet worked with, but would like to explore?
Having interacted with Brewed Protein the synthetic protein fabric on a daily basis, it makes me think perhaps the future of fashion will not only be about designing what’s on the surface of the human body but also about designing the body itself. In that way I feel a massive potential of fashion in the future of biotechnology.
You’ve invited Lauren Wasser to be a muse for your new collection. How did the collaboration come about? Tell us about the process.
I’ve always been attracted to her strength and beauty, but unfortunately did not have any direct connection to date. This time I really wanted to collaborate with her so I’ve contacted her through my network. Luckily she felt the same way with me, and our collaboration was realized. I was really happy that she felt a lot of sympathy in our philosophy and project and I believe we share a lot of values. We’ve only had a few zoom calls to take inspiration for the design from her (of which content is the same as what’s shown in the final film conversation scene). I finally met Lauren for the first time to hand over in person the special made-to-measure couture look.
Lauren Wasser: How was it working with Yuima Nakazato?
Yuima is so cool. He’s such a brilliant and innovative designer. We did a few zoom meetings LA à Tokyo and from those discussions he created the most amazing pieces. When I saw the dress all together for the first time my mouth dropped open. The way he incorporated our conversations about waves, sunsets and the power of the ocean – he made the vision come to life. It was such a beautiful process and the technology that went into creating it was something I have never heard of. The creative behind it evolved into such a powerful collection!
Have you been following his work before?
I had heard of Yuima and saw his pieces from the collections he has done before which were always so intricate. I was so excited to talk with him and hear his vision for this collection, and the way he wanted me to be involved. Just to know that I inspired hope and beauty as the inspiration without ever meeting him was really special. Because of the time we are in [with the pandemic], the whole world has this unknown presence but to remind everyone that this time is only temporary and that in this time of being still and present we can plan for a hopeful future. Things that weren’t seen as beauty before, this time has allowed us to create new perspectives of hope and change for the future. I am just excited to be part of such a monumental crossover of technology and fashion.
What’s your favourite part of the collection?
I loved, loved the boots he made for me – gold platforms that blended perfectly with my golden legs. Watching it evolve and come together piece by piece while they used biotechnology and high fashion was pretty surreal. It has been so special to be included in this collection and this superstar team of Yuima Nakazato. They worked so hard to make it happen and brought true beauty to the world.