image ofIssey Miyake Career History: A Look Back At The Maverick Fashion Designer's Journey

Issey Miyake Career History: A Look Back At The Maverick Fashion Designer’s Journey


Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake died at the age of 84. He became famous for his iconic pleated clothing designs and was also responsible for Apple founder Steve Jobs's signature black turtlenecks. According to reports from Kyoto News Agency, Miyake died on August 5th from liver cancer. Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Miyake was just seven years old when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city. Three years later, his mother died from radiation exposure. The fashion icon was reluctant to talk about his experience until much later in life. To get US President Barack Obama to visit the city, he wrote a piece in The New York Times. He said he refused to be labeled as the designer who survived the bomb. However, he continued to see things nobody should ever experience. In this post, we’re going to pay tribute to the fashion icon and recount the Issey Miyake career history. We’ll go over the top 6 highlights of his life so we can understand the man who made such a huge impact on the fashion industry.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Where was Issey Miyake raised? He was originally named Miyaki Katsumaru and was born on April 22, 1938, in Hiroshima, Japan. He did not like talking about his childhood because of his devastating experience. Losing your family is never easy to forget. He lived through the Second World War and it was a time of scarcity. Food was scarce, jobs were hard to find, and the city was desperately trying to recover from the massive blow it had to endure. But it is also through such difficult times that one develops a backbone made of steel. This is exactly what happened to Miyake. It forced him to be creative, to be inventive, and find ways to get out of his dire situation. He wanted to think of things that one can create, and not destroy. Things that bring joy and beauty to the world around him.

How Did Issey Miyake Start?

Miyake was known for the combination and integration of oriental and western concepts and ended up with a unique hybrid product. His first collection was entitled, "The Poem of Material and Stone." He did this while studying graphic design at the Tama Art University of Tokyo where he graduated in 1964. He moved to Paris in 1965 but his career began a year later while working as an assistant designer at Chambre Syndicale de la couture Parisienne while apprenticing for Guy Laroche. He also worked with Hubert de Givenchy and came up with 50-100 sketches every day.

What Is Issey Miyake Famous For?

All throughout Issey Miyake career history, he became most famous for his A-poc project, which stands for A Piece Of Cloth. This revolutionary form of clothing is created through the use of a computer-programmed industrial knitting machine. It produces a continuous tube of fabric which contains the blueprint of a garment. Scissors are then used to cut out to create the garment to be worn. Aside from his technology-driven clothing techniques, he was also well known for his artworks and dyed fashion styles. In 1998, he launched his famous shoe pants. Seven years after he was awarded the prestigious Premium Imperial Award for sculpture for his dedication to textile technology.

Who Has Issey Miyake Worked With?

Apart from world-renowned couturiers, Guy Laroche and Hubert de Givenchy, he also befriended Apple founder Steve Jobs. Jobs wanted Miyake to come up with comfortable, everyday fashion. Nothing too flashy, and something that's really easy to wear. That's when Miyake created the famous black turtle necks that Steve Jobs always wore. He made a total of one hundred pieces at $175 each.

Issey Miyake L'eau D'Issey Pour Homme

Unknown to many, Miyake was also an avid sportsman and had a fascination with utility combined with functionality. This was evident when it bled through the artist's design process. In 1992, he applied this love for movement to the official uniform design he created for the Lithuanian Olympic team in Barcelona. It is also this year that he released his famous perfume L'eau D'Issey which quickly reached commercial success. In 1994, L'eau D'Issey Pour Homme for men dropped into stores. And ever since, the scents evolved year after year.

What Is The Cartier Foundation Exhibition All About?

It was in 1998 when the Cartier Foundation dedicated an exhibition to Issey Miyake in Paris for being the most fascinating designer of our time. Miyake gladly helped with the exhibit, giving it the title, "Making Things." This simple act of him sharing his process was considered to be a groundbreaking move in couture. Known for sharing the limelight with his collaborators, he highlighted his work on pleats. The other artists were Yasumasa Moriumura, Tim Hawkinson, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Cai Guo-Qui-Ang. If there is one thing that we can glean from Miyake's life, it is to pursue silver linings wherever they may appear. The world of fashion was indeed lucky for having partaken of the life and love of such an icon.
Scroll to Top