ITW | Yoshiyuki Miyamae, Creative Director of ISSEY MIYAKE SS17

His collaboration with SONY on the E-ink Bags

Last September, during the Paris Fashion Week, Yoshiyuki Miyamae presented his latest Spring-Summer 2017 collection for the ISSEY MIYAKE brand, baptized Microcosm. Taking inspiration directly from nature, this show was like a tale about the encounter between a conceptualized vision of fashion and technology. Through a singular perception which transcend garments and a unique take-on the bet of wearable tech, we had the privilege to learn a lot more backstage, some minutes after the show, close to two figures we really appreciate : the creator himself and Rem D. Koolhaas, creator of the shoe brand United Nude, which we interviewed in part 2 of this exclusive series, to be released next Monday.



ISSEY MIYAKE x Sony e-ink bag – Image courtesy of ISSEY MIYAKE.

Allan JOSEPH : « How did you come up with the idea to develop these connected bags? Did you benefit from the help of a partner in they creation process? »

Yoshiyuki Miyamae: « We collaborated with Sony, which was our provider for this tech material: e-paper. It is the same kind of material used to create e-books. It’s a pretty basic and rigid material, but we hope that in 5 to 10 years, we’ll be able to develop a fabric prototype, way more flexible. The idea is to manage to fuse this material with fabric, then to use it to develop a technological and evolutive fabric, which for instance, could with to black by night and to white by day, reacting to its exposure to lighting. This creation, as it is right now, is handmade and combines leather to this highly technological material. As a result, we created an accessory mixing high technology and craftsmanship. »

AJ: « What insight brought up this idea of tech integration? Does this particular choice pursue a precise purpose? »

YM: « Our long term goal is to create wearable pieces that will allow people to communicate with each other. Nowadays, it appears primary to provide consumers with the possibility to communicate with one another, all of this enabled by new kind of things. Maybe, in a near future, it will be possible, thanks to our creations, to project things like photos and images of oneself on the face of a handbag. Currently, there are still many challenges, due to adapting the innovation to the weather (especially rain), which led us to render these bags waterproof, in order for our customers not having to care about this matter when going out. It was the first challenge we overcame. However, there a still many challenges to come, that incite us to look and find the most elaborated solutions to make these bags way more easier to wear. »


Cut & Stick technique (similar to thermoadhesion) – Image courtesy of ISSEY MIYAKE.

AJ: « Can you tell us more about this spring-summer ‘17 collection’s innovation: the « Cut & Stick » technique? »

YM: « We used a technology used in the sportswear industry (very similar to thermoadhesion) to develop these pieces. This is exactly like the technique we call « bonding ». We then resorted to an adhesive specifically developed by a local company to suit the needs of this collection. Thus, it has been used to shape our creations, in order to recreate specific forms imagined while designing the whole collection, for a better preservation of these forms while developing the clothes. We then found another way to proceed that allowed us to cut patterns in small parts, in various sizes, to obtain the desired structure for our creations. For instance, we managed to combine two different types of materials in order to associate really flexible ones with really rigid ones, which in the end was really useful in our creation process. »


Cut & Stick technique (similar to thermoadhesion) -Image courtesy of ISSEY MIYAKE.

AJ: « What inspired you this idea? Did you follow the usual creation process to find inspiration and overcome this ambitious challenge? »

YM: « As always, we proceeded with research for, afterwards, if we manage to come up with something interesting, embark in several trials. It generally takes 2 to 3 years before being, in the end, integrated in our development process. It takes much time because, for every pieces designed, which are in the very end sold in-store, we have to imagine every situations possible to easily preserve the clothes. At ISSEY MIYAKE, it really matters for each one of us to perfectly imagine and conceive our collections in anyway possible in order to suit the everyday life. Nowadays, you can wear then wash ISSEY MIYAKE clothes hundreds of times, for several years and they will never change. This dedication to functional perfection is the very reason why we are convinced all these trials are necessary. »


Cut & Stick technique (similar to thermoadhesion) -Image courtesy of ISSEY MIYAKE.

AJ: « It goes against the actual tide of the global fashion market, which is really lively and agile : don’t you fear, at some point, this approach could become a burden in the end against your competitors? »

YM: « It is true that this stance goes totally against what’s currently going on in the industry and we’re seeing more and more houses adopt see-now-buy-now, adopting shorter and shorter cycles. Nevertheless, we remain attached to the idea we tried to express throughout this season’s show : it all starts with a grain, which in the long run will sprout and give a fruit. It’s a long term process, but with time and a lot of love, we remain persuaded to obtain the most perfect fruits. » 


ISSEY MIYAKE x Sony e-ink bag – Image courtesy of ISSEY MIYAKE.

AJ: « Then, you wish to keep your actual stance, to go on using the same kind of techniques and forward-thinking innovations? »

YM: « This value, this spirit, is deeply rooted in ISSEY MIYAKE’s DNA and we wish it perpetuates, with future generations. This is then our duty to constantly overcome challenges to offer to the fashion world, and more importantly, provide our customers with constantly new and surprising exclusiveness. »

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