I have always admired the work of Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons ( French for "like boys") designed by Rei Kawakubo. Both are similar and very different. Both operate at the intersection of fashion, art and architecture and it so happened that the output is fashion. I am a big minimalist fan although my lifestyle doesn't allow me to become one. After twenty years, I am still working on it. I am hopeless I guess. I am often distracted by other things and hard for me to stay true to it. May be this is the time.
I think this is the perfect time for minimalist thinking to become mainstream, not only in style but in minimlaist design thinking. We have been over thinking about many things. Most products are overdesigned and our life is overcomplicated. We want less and not more. And I am not talking about a watered down voluntary simplicity or sacrificing style or substance.
True minimalism is an highly intellectual exercise and a state of mind. The practice of minimalism is still primarily reserved to a small group of people in fashion, architecture and art (and i-bankers). I am in favor of mass adoption of minimalism as a philosophy. A simpler lifestyle and less complex.
I visited the lastest Yohji's exhibition at the Albert and Victoria Musem in London last week. A very small exibition but still worth visiting. His work is characterised by a frequent and skilful use of black, a colour which he describes as 'modest and arrogant at the same time. He is famous for his white shirts with subtle design. He believes that black is the only genuine colour (and white) and it's his essence.
The exhibition space houses about 60 creations and a multi-media timeline which reveals Yamamoto's wider creative output. Central to Yohji's work are the textiles. ‘Fabric’ he said once ‘is everything’. Each one of the fabrics used in his collections are made to his specifications by different craftspeople in and around Kyoto in Japan.
It seems the minimalist movement is making a comeback. The Japanese minimalist movement, which radicalised and democratised the fashion world in the early 1980s is creeping back and making a scene. Yohji needs to go mass. There is a stuborness for any haute couture house. His company filed for bankruptcy in 09, struggling under six billion yen (£40 million or US$65 million) of debt. I think Yohji needs to think out of the (black) box and reimagining about applying has philosophy and lifestyle outside fashion. I love to write more but have to go back to writing for the next issue of my magazine M/I/S/C. I am a week away from editorial deadline. 7 days a week is not enough for me, I need at least 12.