Akira Isogawa is one of Australia’s most celebrated designers. Born in Kyoto Japan, Akira moved to Australia in 1986 where he studied fashion design at the Sydney Institute of Technology, drawing inspiration from contemporary Japanese design. Akira has designed costumes for four Sydney Dance Company productions – Salome, Air & Other Invisible Forces, Ellipse, Grand and for the players in the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Akira has recently completed an eighteen month assignment designing the costumes for the Australian Ballet’s production of Grahame Murphy’s Romeo and Juliet, to tour the Syndey Opera House in December 2011. I had a chance to sit down and talk with Akira about a variety of topics in the fashion industry. Read below for the full interview…
How do you achieve the challenge of immersing your vision in your craft with the result of the wearer to connect with it as well?
Akira: It is my job to ensure that the wearer is able to understand my vision. It is inpart a visual communition between myself and my clients.
Having boutiques in Australia primarily, what perspective can you give up about Aussie fashion that many people in the world don’t know about?
Akira: The climate in Australia can actually be quiet tropical and certainly humid. This effects the choice of textiles. Natural fibres work best.
How important is it to you to present japanese design of today ‘as it is’ and not ‘as we think’ it should be. In other words, drawing inspiration from contemporary Japanese design without nostalgia, but design ideas for everyday?
Akira: The inspiration which I draw upon from Japan reflects both an historical and modern presepctive – it comes down to functionaility and good design is also timeless.
You only stayed in Sydney for a month before you wanted to relocate permanently and study fashion. What chain of events occured that lead up to that decision?
Akira: Actually, I came to Australia for a 12 month working holiday – after which time Sydney just felt like home.
Having shown your collections in major shows for over 15 years, what is your creative process for evolving fashion trends year after year? How do you stay ahead of the curve?
Akira: It is critical that I continuously challenge myself to try new things and take new risks. This is how we, as designers, stay ahead of the curve.
What do people need to know about a fashion design career?
Akira: It requires constant hard work and effort. It is literally a 24/7 occupation.
What challenges do you face when designing other mediums such as eyewear or woven rugs? What is the biggest obstacle?
Akira: I do not find these endevours challenging, I love collaborating with creative people in different industries.
What’s exciting right now in fashion?
Akira: I do not think that trends are so clearly defined right now. This means that more designers are out there doing their own thing. I think this is very exciting.
Do you have any favorite Asian films or Anime?
Akira: ‘In the Mood for Love’ by Wong Kar-Wai – the costumes are enchanting.
The biggest worry that up and coming designer have when starting a label, is money. I know you started your own label pretty much straight away, so what advice do you have for a start up business trying to design on a tight budget?
Akira: It is important that you are involved in, and understand, all the aspects of the business: design, sales, marketing and production. You need a clear business plan and it is very important to control growth.
Want to keep tabs on Akira’s fashion line(s) and news? Visit his official website below: