Issey Miyake: A Single Thread

On August 5, 2022, we were asked to say goodbye to Issey Miyake.

Issey Miyake Portrait by Claude Charlier
Issey Miyake Portrait via Claude Charlier

The guiding philosophy of his designs was coined “A Piece of Cloth.” He developed each design by placing his focus on how the body, and the clothing that covered it, interacted.

In doing so, Miyake’s creative process began with a single piece of thread… exploring its possibilities to create new materials as the designer allowed curiosity and experimentation to lead the way.

Issey Miyake's PLEATS PLEASE Exhibition
Miyake’s PLEATS PLEASE Image via Phillippe Brazil

When we trace Miyake’s life to this original thread, we find a young boy traumatized by the atomic bomb, dropped on his birthplace of Hiroshima, and its aftermath.

  • A boy who overcame this adversity and sought to look not to his past, but to his future
The Peace Bridge Designed by Isamu Noguchi
“The Peace Bridge” (Tsukuru) Design and Image by Isamu Noguchi
  • A university student who looked at clothing through an artistic, design-oriented lens rather than one centered on “fashion”
Issey Miyake 1960's Clothing Design
Miyake’s Constructible Clothes Image via Kishin Shinoyama
  • A young designer inspired to create new fabrics, clothing and production technologies
Issey Miyake Poster Image via Irving Penn
  • A design studio owner that encouraged and celebrated group collaboration rather than only the ideas of the leader
Miyake’s Plantation Pamphlet Ad Image via Eiichiro Sakata
Issey Miyake with Reality Labs Image via Tetsuya Miura
  • An accomplished designer who led an avant-garde movement to change the modern conceptions of how clothing should look and what it should represent
Artforum Feb. 1982 Cover featuring Miyake’s Work
National Geographic’s “Weaving the Future” Article Excerpt featuring Miyake’s Work

As we follow that single thread on its journey, it concludes by forming an awarded icon in the worlds of art and fashion with a decades-long legacy of influence and achievement.

Issey Miyake Portrait via Brigitte Lacombe

So after studying each detail of this single strand, we step back and fully realize a beautiful tapestry, the fascinating and unique piece of cloth this thread eventually constructed, and we wish to thank Issey Miyake for his invaluable contributions.

Issey Miyake at Parish Fashion Week
Issey Miyake at Paris Fashion Week Image via PL Gould and Getty Images

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