‘Face To Face’ with Yuima Nakazato | Haute Couture FW20/21

I must confess, from when I started back in 2010, the designer YUIMA NAKAZATO has always managed to make me rethink my ideas and shift my perception of what fashion can be.

Whether it’s about design, the essence of fashion, well-understood sustainability or even business focus.

Each of the collections breathes its own independence. But further than that, the brand does not even repeat the same format in which they publicise them.

In this sense, I can affirm the high level of involvement that YUIMA has in showing its designs.

From a select and arduous investigation and experimentation in the selection of materials, to the setting and the format in which he makes us participants in his works.

Thanks to COVID-19, the way in which the new couture shows can be presented has changed dramatically. In this digital edition of the haute couture shows, the Japanese designer has produced a masterpiece of customer-based excellence. Focusing its attention to the consumer.

Starting from something as simple and pure, as a white shirt, YUIMA has talked with 25 clients and from there built a special and extremely intimate project.

Remotely, YUIMA spoke and listened attentively to a diverse group of clients. All of which come from various nationalities, ages and genders.

Yuima asked each of these clients to tell the story around their favourite white shirt and why they kept it. What made them think back longingly to a specific time, period or event that the shirt represents and how they would like to have it redesigned.

“From this first consultation and idea, we have been jumping from the personal and intimate dialogue with the client, to the development of designs, reusing shirts. Is there something more emotional and sustainable than that?”

As Yuima took notes and taught his clientele remotely, we witnessed a touching complicity.

Each cut, fold and trace retold a story. In fact, that would be 25 unique and deeply personal stories in total. Surely this is the origin and foundation of Haute Couture? A personal and unique piece that is as much a part of the wearer as can be.

A basic, timeless and simple piece that becomes a memory, a wish, a passion, an idea.

Here there have been no sequins, feathers or embroidery. But here the pure essence of haute couture has been shown.

A job well done to each member and contributor to the processes, putting the customer at the centre of each one.

I envy each of these customers for having had the chance to give their shirts a wonderful second life. An experience that takes upcycling to the next level!

What I love is this adaption to the “new normal” brought on by the pandemic. By working remotely, Yuima Nakazato opened the doors of his atelier in Tokyo and personally brought his clients into his workroom. Moreover, the clients managed to see his work live. A truly personal and intimate experience.

I think Yuima has created much more than just exceptional work.  He has created beauty from memories. It heightens the love that can be felt towards a design, the desire to preserve it and show it off for decades to come.

It is through this “face to face” service, that he can educate and indulge the client in the pleasure of slow fashion. The luxury of enjoying your clothes, being selective and taking care of them.

The luxury of knowing that a shirt will not end up wasted, but is granted an almost immortal status.