Issey Miyake

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Issei "Issey" Miyake
Born (1938-04-22) April 22, 1938 (age 77)
Hiroshima, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Education Tama Art University
Occupation Fashion designer
Awards Praemium Imperiale
Labels Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake (三宅 一生 Miyake Issei[pronunciation?]?, born April 22, 1938) is a Japanese fashion designer. He is known for his technology-driven clothing designs, exhibitions and fragrances.

Life and career[edit]

1994 'Flying Saucer' dress. PFF collection.
An Issey Miyake gown on display in Florence, Italy, in 2007.
A design from the 1990 Rhythm Pleats collection; polyester, pleated, heat-and-pressure-set.
Steve Jobs (left) wearing his signature black mock turtle neck by Issey Miyake[1]

Miyake was born on April twenty-second, 1938 in Hiroshima, Japan. He studied graphic design at the Tama Art University in Tokyo, graduating in 1964. After graduation, he worked in Paris and New York City. Returning to Tokyo in 1970, he founded the Miyake Design Studio, a high-end producer of women's fashion.

In the late 1980s, he began to experiment with new methods of pleating that would allow both flexibility of movement for the wearer as well as ease of care and production. In which the garments are cut and sewn first, then sandwiched between layers of paper and fed into a heat press, where they are pleated. The fabric's 'memory' holds the pleats and when the garments are liberated from their paper cocoon, they are ready-to wear. He did the costume for Ballett Frankfurt with pleats in a piece named "the Loss of Small Detail" William Forsythe and also work on ballet "Garden in the setting".

He had a long friendship with Austrian-born pottery artist Dame Lucie Rie. She bequeathed to him her substantial collection of ceramic and porcelain buttons, which he integrated into his designs and presented in new collections.

He also developed a friendship with Apple's Steve Jobs and produced the black turtlenecks which would become a part of Jobs' signature attire. Jobs said, "So I asked Issey to make me some of his black turtlenecks that I liked, and he made me like a hundred of them."[1]

In March 1992 he was quoted in the International Herald Tribune as saying "Design is not for philosophy—it's for life."[2]

In 1994 and 1999, Miyake turned over the design of the men's and women's collections respectively, to his associate, Naoki Takizawa, so that he could return to research full-time. In 2007, Naoki Takizawa opened his own brand, supported by the Issey Miyake Group and was replaced, as a Creative Director of the House of Issey Miyake, by Dai Fujiwara.

As of 2012, he is one of the co-Directors of 21 21 DESIGN SIGHT, Japan's first design museum.[3]

Issey Miyake lines and brands[edit]

Mr Miyake "oversees the overall direction of all lines created by his company", even though the individual collections have been designed by his staff since his 'retirement' from the fashion world in 1997.[4][5]

  • Issey Miyake - main collection line, subdivided into men (since 1978/85) and women (since 1971) collections, designed by Dai Fujiwara[6] (succeeded Naoki Takizawa in 2006)[7]
  • Issey Miyake Fête - colorful women's line that "draws on the technological innovations of Pleats Please"[8] (Fête means 'celebration' in French) (since 2004)
  • Pleats Please Issey Miyake - polyester jersey garments for women that are first "cut and sewn and then pleated [...] (normally, fabric is first pleated and then cut and sewn [...])"[9] "to permanently retain washboard rows of horizontal, vertical or diagonal knife-edge pleats."[10] (since 1989/93)
  • HaaT - women's line, designed by Miyake's former textile designer, Makiko Minagawa. HaaT means 'village market' in Sanskrit, the word sound similar to 'heart' in English.[11][12] (since 2000).
  • A-POC - custom-collection for men and women. Tubes of fabric are machine-processed and can be cut into various shapes by the consumer. A-POC is an acronym of 'a piece of cloth', and a near homonym of 'epoch'.[4][6][13][14][15][16] (since 1997)
  • me Issey Miyake - line of "exclusive one-sized shirts that stretch to fit the wearer" that are sold in plastic tube, named Cauliflower for the non-Asian market.[17][18] (since 2001)
  • Issey Miyake Watches - men's and women's watches
  • Issey Miyake Perfumes - line of fragrances for men and women. See below
  • Evian by Issey Miyake - Limited edition bottle designed by Issey Miyake for Evian water.
  • Issey Miyake maintains a freestanding store, named ELTTOB TEP Issey Miyake (reverse for 'Pet Bottle') in Osaka where the full array of lines is available.[19]
  • 21 21 Design Sight (a play on 20/20 vision) is a museum-style research center for design, constructed by Tadao Ando, that was opened in Roppongi, Tokyo in March 2007. The center is headed by Issey Miyake and four other Japanese designers, and operated by The Miyake Issey Foundation.[20][21]
  • The Miyake Issey Foundation, founded in Tokyo in 2004, operates the 21_21 Design Sight center, organizes exhibitions and events, and publishes literature.


Like many fashion designers, Issey Miyake also has a line of perfumes. His first fragrance, the light aquatic-floral L'eau d'Issey for women, was launched in 1992. The name L'eau d'Issey (engl.: Issey's water) is a pun. In French, it sounds identical to "l'odyssée" (engl. odyssey).The bottle, designed by Miyake himself, is based on the view of the moon behind the Eiffel Tower from his Paris apartment.

The scent was followed by L'eau d'Issey Pour Homme (for men) in 1994. L'eau Bleue d'Issey Pour Homme was introduced in 2004; and its evolution, L'eau Bleue d'Issey Eau Fraiche was introduced in 2006. Every year since 2007, Issey Miyake has brought out a "limited time only" fragrance for ladies in which he brings in a "guest" perfumer. In 2007, he launched 'Drop on a Petal', and in 2008 he launched 'Reflections in a Drop'. A new Issey Miyake men's fragrance, L'eau d'Issey Pour Homme Intense, was introduced at Nordstrom in the United States in June 2007, with a larger worldwide rollout following in September 2007. Issey Miyake fragrances are produced under a long-term agreement by the Beauté Prestige International division of Shiseido, who also produces fragrances for Narciso Rodriguez, Elie Saab, and Jean-Paul Gaultier.



  1. ^ a b Steve Jobs' black turtleneck reportedly explained in biography (Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2011)
  2. ^ International Herald Tribune, Paris, March 23, 1992
  3. ^ "Art Space Tokyo". 21_21 Design Sight: Tokyo Art Maps. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  4. ^ a b Contemporary Magazine - The A-POC epoch
  5. ^ Fashion Windows - Issey Miyake
  6. ^ a b DNR -A-POC making
  7. ^ Marie Claire - Issey Miyake
  8. ^ Metropolis - Festival of Style
  9. ^ - About Pleats
  10. ^ The Age - Techno Frock
  11. ^ Honolulu Advertiser - Worldy Textiles
  12. ^ IHT - A new wave in Tokyo pursues the next Cool Look
  13. ^ Bernardo Siaotong - Epoch of A-poc
  14. ^ designboom - 'a-poc making'
  15. ^ BNET - Issey Miyake's A-POC: A piece of cloth
  16. ^ BusinessWeek - Issey Miyake the dream weaver
  17. ^ - Issey Miyake
  18. ^ Designboom - 'me'
  19. ^ Hint Mag - Different Strokes
  20. ^ 21_21 - The directors
  21. ^ Mitsui Fudosan - "21/21 Design Sight" to be established
  22. ^ The San Diego Union Tribune - Intelligent Design
  23. ^

External links[edit]