A look behind the brand of Yohji Yamamoto


The Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto reflects on his career and reveals some insights that have made him successful. His approach is similar to that of an artist who values the act of creation above the pursuit of profit.

Yamamoto has been a pivotal factor in the success of the Y-3 line, which is one of the most respected brands in the world today.

‘Together with adidas we created something that did not exist before and completely projected the future. My desire was and is to make sportswear elegant and chic.’ – Yohji Yamamoto

In a conversation with the V&A Museum he reflects on the process that he uses to create his pieces, and how he differentiates himself from a solely commercialised mode of production.

‘I strongly believe in in craftsmanship and the human hand. For example, when I stick with Japanese craftsmanship for weaving, for sewing, for cutting, maybe I’m touching a little bit of culture of the human being, human fingers … strongly. Mentally I’m very far from mass production. So the meaning of American success, I’m not a very successful designer. In America success means fame and money. I think myself maybe famous in Europe, but money? I don’t know. For me, comfortable profit is enough, to keep on going.’ – Yohji Yamamoto

Yamamoto remains level headed even after the significant amount of success that he has achieved. It shows that success comes in many forms and variations. To be able to shift a plethora of units at a discounted price has its place, as does the bespoke designer, as does the artist, and Yamamoto understands that ‘beautiful things are disappearing every day.’

When he addresses the question of what makes him happy he says, ‘I’m often asked what is gorgeous for you? Then I answer, I don’t like too much about, I don’t care too much about the property, like a big house, private jet, big castle, I’m not interested in them at all. My most gorgeous moment is creating drawing. So in that meaning, I’m very lucky and a happy man.’

Yohji Yamamoto: The poet of black

Fashion label: Y-3

Designer: – Yohji Yamamoto

Interview: V&A

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