My recent piece on Thunderbox got me thinking about the state of fashion education in Japan, a situation coincidentally exacerbated by a recent offer to work with one of Tokyo’s finest institutions (but more on that in due course), and I was racking my collection archive to find someone who I think exemplifies a well rounded graduate of the system as it stands. This search led me to Esmod graduate Ryoju Kishi whose new brand QR’s first pre-collection is already on sale in Wut Berlin in Omotesando. Now, how many young designers can lay claim to that? A graduate collection that is ready for the market without any need for polish, but moreover one that can compare favorably to some of the most avant-garde in Tokyo. That is not to say that it doesn’t suffer from the graduate propensity to bung a gimmick or two in (and why not, you are only young once), in this case some quite cute furry woolen gloves and boots, but by and large this is just pattern working done right and a good eye for materials:
There is something pleasantly unisex about his output towards the lower half of the body with baggy culottes and longer skirts giving a column shape to his overall silhouette, but his strongly gendered tailoring below is looking very promising.
Elsewhere his distinctive over-long sleeves throw in a bit of a curve-ball to proceedings and echo the broad shapes that hang away from the body well without any need for pleating.
Overall this is a collection defined by out and out strong pattern-work that many other graduates would do well to look to before they get ahead of themselves as far as I am concerned, and the fact that you can walk into a Tokyo boutique like Wut Berlin and pick this up now is real a testament to that. I know there are those, such as the head buyer for Fake Tokyo, who say that Japanese designers need to punctuate their graduate work with a grand display of direction to make themselves stand out in the market (and that is obviously a good path for brands of the world like Runurunu and Bodysong), but there is nothing quite like quality tailoring and a concise vision to mark your entry into the fashion world.