With Issey Miyake Tragically Gone, Where Does The Future Of His Brand Lie?

Here, we explore the brand's legacy without the iconic designer at the helm.

Legendary Japanese designer Issey Miyake tragically passed away in Tokyo on August 5 following a private battle with liver cancer.

On August 10, representatives of the Issey Miyake Group shared the news with a heartbroken world, who were already morning the loss of Australian icon Olivia Newton John.
The 84-year-old designer is amongst the number of fashion mavens who have tragically passed this year, including the French sensation Manfred Thierry Mugler and pioneering journalist André Leon Talley.

In a statement released by the Issey Miyake Group, it’s been revealed that there will be no funeral service or memorial held for the late clothing icon.

However, one question remains: what is the future of the Issey Miyake brand?

With multiple brands under the Issey Miyake umbrella, including the critically acclaimed ‘Pleats, Please’ and ‘Homme Plissé’, we look back at Issey’s career to explore how the designer has cemented his legacy and what the future of his brand will look like.

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Issey Miyake’s Most Famous Fashion Moments

“Design is not for philosophy, it’s for life.” Miyake’s refreshing design ethos reinvigorated the style scene of the late 70s and early 80s.

Having witnessed America’s bombing of Hiroshima when he was only eight years old, Miyake sought to shift fashion from an exclusive and exclusionary pursuit to one that was rooted in humanity.

Rather than considering his designs as “fashion”, he preferred to refer to his creations as “clothing”. “I am most interested in people and the human form,” Miyake told the New York Times in 2014. “Clothing is the closest thing to all humans.”

Miyake cut his teeth under fashion icons Hubert de Givenchy and Guy Laroche, with his revolutionary and experimental design now a mainstay on the Paris Fashion Week fixture.

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His most memorable creations are the technically sound garment pleating designs which he debuted in 1989.

The micropleating form became a signature for the designer, and made way for more exploratory brands like APOC—clothing made from ‘a piece of cloth’.

Of course, his trademark perfume L’eau D’Issey became the scent of the 90s, and his designs lauded by the celebrity style set including Grace Jones, Kim Kardashian and even Robin Williams.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs even opted for the Issey Miyake designed turtlenecks for his quintessential uniform.

Over the course of his career, Miyake cemented himself as the originator and steward of ease in everyday life.

(Credit: Source: Getty)

What Will Happen To The Issey Miyake Brand?

With Issey Miyake’s passing taking place mere weeks before the brand was due to show at Paris Fashion Week in September, those not in the know may think that the future of the label may be in disarray.

A similar situation was faced when Virigl Abloh passed three days before Louis Vuitton, with many wondering who will take over as creative designer.

However, the transition for the Issey Miyake brands will be evidently more seamless.

In 2019, Kyoto born Satoshi Kondo took over from Yoshiyuki Miyamae as the artistic director for the brand.

In fact, Miyake retired from designing back in 1997, taking on a more holistic role as the overseer of his subsidiary brands.

With the human form at the forefront of Miyake’s labels, Kondo has continued to celebrate Miyake’s ethos with future-forward and effortless fashion.

Experimental and unique creations will always be synonymous with the Miyake name, and we will continue to see this take to the runway time and time again.

Miyake will be remembered as one of the greatest Japanese designers of all time, along with COMME de GARÇONS creator Rei Kawakubo.

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