Junya Watanabe is a Japanese fashion designer, originally the protégé of Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo. Born in Fukushima, Japan in 1961, he went on to attend Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, graduating in 1984. At this time he began his apprenticeship at Comme des Garçons as a patternmaker. In 1987, he was promoted to chief designer of Tricot knitwear line and then moved on to design for the Comme Des Garçons Homme line. Starting in 1992, he has worked under his own name as part of Comme des Garçons. He started his own line under the Comme Des Garçons name called 'Junya Watanabe Comme Des Garçons' in 1993 and began showing in Paris that same year.
Watanabe, like his mentor Rei Kawakubo, is renowned for designing innovative and distinctive clothing. He is particularly interested in synthetic and technologically advanced textiles and fabrics as found in his spring/summer 2001 line but also uses more traditional materials such as cotton in his spring/summer 2003 collection. Watanabe is often considered to be a 'techno couture' designer, creating unusually structured clothes out of modern, technical materials.
- Amy de la Haye, "A Dress Is No Longer a Little, Flat, Closed Thing: Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe."Radical Fashion. Claire Wilcox, ed. London: V&A Publications, 2001.p.37.
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