Research trip – Tokyo: Yohji Yamamoto HQ

Back in bustling Tokyo it is time for me to visit Yohji Yamamoto HQ in the business (but not financial) district Shinagawa. Amongst shiny, glass and metal-clad highrisers housing companies like Japan Airlines, Phillips and Nike, Yohji Yamamoto’s home looks rather incongruous – a fairly low and very  black concrete block. 

On entering, it becomes clear why: the studio of the design teams (he has separate ones for each of the brands he designs) is a large, calm, jam-packed room secluded from the outside world. Adjacent are rooms full of rolls of his custom-made fabric piled up to ceiling, a pattern cutting room, a sewing room and of course, Yohji’s office. When I am led in to conduct an hour-long interview for the book, I notice three guitars lying around various spots in the room. I remember: ‘of course, Yohji used to be in a band and tour around Japan’ <link to album>

After an intense 90 minutes of talking to Yohji Yamamoto, one of the things he said keeps coming back to me:

‘Very often I feel I’ve done almost everything. Then, the next question to myself is: ‘Why are you continuing the same thing?’ A very childish answer comes back: ‘Because I love clothing.’ And each time I’m working for the next collection, next season, during fitting, during cutting, each time I find some invention. That is the moment when I feel happy, this is the only moment I feel happy’