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Issey Miyake is known as the fashion innovator who revolutionized the Parisian style. He built his reputation on signature fragrances, avant-garde cuts, and sharp pleating. His innovations are also known for their artistic value and technological precision.

His pleating technique, which was mostly based on origami designs, was a feat of engineering that has not been replicated by many designers, brands, or innovators. 


Issey Miyake’s Design Ethos

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Issey Miyake said on numerous instances that he sought to create clothes that brought beauty and joy to everyone who wore them. Throughout a career that lasted more than five decades, Issey was able to sidestep the grandiosity that other brands embraced, instead opting to just make things that he and those who wore them could be happy with. 

He believed in beautiful creations that were also practical for everyday use, comfortable, and affordable for everyone. Miyake sought to create garments that transcended age, race, size, and gender. 

Issey Miyake is a fashion legend in his own right, and this article is meant to celebrate everything he did for the fashion industry.


Miyake’s Beginnings

His ethos and approach to design and innovation were hugely inspired by his life experiences. He grew up in Hiroshima and survived the atomic bombing of 1954. His mother would die three years later from radiation poisoning. Although he sought to keep these details private, he did talk about them in 2009 op-ed where he also spoke out against nuclear warfare.


Miyake’s Innovations

Miyake had many popular and innovative creations, four of which stand out to this day. The first one is the Pleats Please line which he developed and patented in the 1980s and launched in 1993. The creation of this line involved pleating clothes instead of garments to end up with pleated designs that would never crease.

At the point of this innovation, pleats were not new, but ones that could never crease were. Pleating clothes that were already assembled, he created clothes that were two to three times the size they would eventually be. The garment was then folded, ironed, laced into paper, and then heat pressed.

The texture added to the final garments is what made it possible to dry clean and air dry them without them losing their shape or creasing. Although this line first became popular in 1993, it has remained popular to this day.


The Bao Bao Bag

Many designer bag brands also function as status symbols, but the Bao Bao bag designed by Issey Miyake has continued to stand out since it was released. 

This bag is made out of geometric shapes that help it complement numerous outfits and fashion ensembles. It is associated with creativity, artistry, and intellect, and this is why it is one of the most copied handbag designs in the world.

The geometric shapes used in the bag shift as the person fills it with items, meaning that the bag looks different in different circumstances. The handbag’s design is now used in different products including fanny packs and totes. 


The Famous Turtlenecks

Miyake is also credited with creating the turtlenecks that were the signature look of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The original idea was for Miyake to create a uniform for Apple employees. Jobs thought that employees would bond better, have a sense of belonging, and look professional, but this idea was abandoned. 

Steve Jobs then sought to have a jacket created for himself, later on settling for Miyake’s black turtlenecks. Because of how many people watched Jobs’ keynotes and read about them, his signature look, which included the turtlenecks, became famous the world over.


Issey Miyake Cologne and Perfume

L’Eau d’Issey was Miyake’s first perfume and was launched in 1992 in conjunction with Shiseido, a giant Japanese cosmetics company. The perfume became very popular due to its fresh air scent. Miyake said that he based the perfume on water, which he saw as a great source of inspiration, with the bottle based on the view of the moon he had from his Parisian home.

Miyake released more than 100 perfumes and colognes, many of which are still on sale today.


A Continuing Legacy

Even though Issey Miyake passed away in 2022, his legacy continues because new garments and handbags are being released under his brand name. The label continues to follow the same design ethos and principles he had, and you can discover the label’s recent collection at ssense.com where you can also discover some of its earlier collections, too.

While the label concentrated on lines for women, the brand also has different lines for men. The over 100 different fragrances and colognes are specifically geared towards men and women of sophisticated taste.

Issey Miyake was an innovator who changed the fashion industry and how garments are made in different ways. Although he remained humble most of his life, he has continued to receive praise for the over 50 years he was involved in the industry. He is a true legend who should be celebrated by anyone involved in fashion.


About Rachel Christopher

Rachel Finn is a London based writer who enjoys exploring the many ways that Sushi can be made whilst at the same time sneaking in a little miso soup here and there.