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  • Writer's pictureKathy Chen

Rei Kawakubo (Fashion Designer)

Category: Fashion Designer

Post Contributor: Kathy Chen

Illustration portrait of Rei Kawakubo by ob27


Profession: Fashion Designer

Born: October 11th, 1942, Tokyo, Japan

Nationality: Japanese



Famous for:

- sartorial revolution

- anti-fashion

- hand-manipulated fabrics

- carefully calculated random disorder to give the impression of spontaneity



© 2023 - Illustration by Simone Yao & ob27


Links for resources:

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, Art of the In-Between, exhibition overview with videos (The Met)


"Rei Kawakubo: reframing fashion" article by Danielle Whitfield, includes gallery of photographs (NGV)


"Rei Kawakubo’s radical chic", portrait article by Jacques Hyzagi with gallery of photographs (The Guardian)


Rei Kawakubo: The Clothes Maker, article (Frieze)


Lumps and Bumps at Comme des Garçons S/S97, article with gallery (Another Magazine)


Comme des Garçons is “nothing about clothes” says Rei Kawakubo, interview with gallery (Dezeen)


 Shirt by Rei Kawakubo, 2008

Woman's shirt, 2008 / Cotton, sequins; jersey knit, screenprinted, appliqué

Center back length: 63.5 cm (25 inches) (The RISD Museum)


'Rei Kawakubo's 20 Most Abstract Commes des Garçons Designs', article and gallery of photographs (L'Officiel USA)


“I identified very much with punk, not only in the fashion sector, but in every other sector. The very nature of doing something new and free meant something that was against authority. It was also never wanting to be part of any group or movement or anything that was the done thing. I hated organization. When you have a group, you have a leader who is going to put down the rest of the group.”

'Living: Into the Soul of Fabric', article from 1983 by By Jay Cocks (Time)


'7 Things You Need to Know About the Fashion Designer Who Inspired the 2017 Met Gala', (Time)


“In the sense that anarchy equals freedom, yes. Anarchy means freedom, but it also means chaos.”

'Rei Kawakubo Never Meant to Start a Revolution', article and gallery of photographs (Elle)


Interview By Ronnie Cooke Newhouse (Interview Magazine)


Comme des Garçons, Spring 1997 ready-to-wear collection (widely remembered as the "lumps and bumps" collection), gallery of photographs (Vogue)


Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garcons (Fashion Industry Broadcast)



'Jumper', identified as T.167 to C-1985, was created by Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons in 1982. It comprises a hand-knitted black jumper adorned with holes placed randomly, which gives it a post-Punk era feel, and a black skirt made of padded cotton jersey. This ensemble depicts well the black-heavy collections that Rei Kawakubo produced during the early 1980s.

>> See the gallery of phototgraphs (via the V&A)



Further research: (topics in connection):

- Vivienne Westwood

- Issey Miyake

- Yohji Yamamoto

- Robert Rauschenberg

- Madeleine Vionnet


Please note: all links will send you to a free article. No subscriptions should be required.

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