Rei Kawakubo: ‘I don’t sketch or style’

Comme des Garcons founder Rei Kawakubo doesn’t sketch or style and has a “unique way of working”. The 76-year-old, who heads one of the most influential fashion houses in the world, opened up about her unusual design process, and explained why she wil…

Comme des Garcons founder Rei Kawakubo doesn’t sketch or style and has a “unique way of working”.

The 76-year-old, who heads one of the most influential fashion houses in the world, opened up about her unusual design process, and explained why she will never be pigeonholed.

“I design the company, not pieces of clothing,” Kawakubo told Dezeen. “It’s nothing about clothes, it’s a different way to express my value of Comme des Garcons. I don’t sketch or style. It’s a unique way of working, I don’t think anybody else works like that.”

Ever since she established the brand in Tokyo back in 1969, Kawakubo has always had creative control.

“It’s the only brand in the world that works like that A-Z,” she stated. “If my eyes aren’t on it, it’s not Comme des Garcons.”

Comme des Garcons has luxury stores in several countries, including Japan, America, France and the U.K., and both the brand and its founder were featured in a major exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York back in 2017.

However, Kawakubo never studied fashion, and instead started out by getting a job in a textile factory, where she began styling. After struggling to find the clothes she wanted, she started designing her own, and eventually set up her company – Comme des Garcons.

“I’m not an artist, not a fashion designer,” she explained. “I always wanted to use fashion as a tool, as a material to make a business out of creation. I wanted to be independent, make a business and work.”

The petite designer is known for her simple, understand style, and wears her hair in a sleek bob with a sharp fringe.

But when asked to describe her style, she appeared confused.

“I never thought of making my own style. I just wear the things I make,” she said simply. “It’s Comme des Garcons style.”

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