Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Yuima Nakazato in Paris: Digital Couture Revolutionizes Fashion


The mystical haute couture presentation in Paris created by Yuima Nakazato, showing his vision for the future of a couture for all. Cover picture and all photographs by Elli Ioannou

Japanese fashion designer Yuima Nakazato is part of a new generation of avant-garde couturiers showing on Paris' official haute couture schedule. This season, he presented a collection made entirely with his new technology creating digital couture that allows custom-designed clothes to be accessible to everybody, Jeanne-Marie Cilento writes. Reporting and photographs by Elli Ioannou

Designer Yuima Nakazato with his
digital couture clothes
NUMINOUS and otherworldly it may have been, but Japanese designer Yuima Nakazato's show in Paris, presented a revolutionary new technique that could make couture clothes available to all. The couturier has created a digital technology which could change fashion with made-to-measure clothes for people around the world. An informative film like a 1950s British documentary explained the concept and then showed 21st century holographic forms with runway models wearing the clothes appearing in a darkened space with mystical music, enhancing the sense of the dawn of a futuristic age. He purposely altered the format of the traditional runway show, that usually takes only a few minutes, to a longer presentation that included film, music, models and mannequins. Nakazato wanted guests to have a more intimate connection to the designs and ideas behind the collection. "I used to do a lot of costume design and I still do a lot of design for the stage and recording artists," Nakazato explains. "Working and communicating with them directly and designing a piece just for them. When these artists wear my designs they are always very happy. It is quite different to designing something for mass production. I wanted to give this experience of having a uniquely designed piece to everyone." But the designer says the big question was "how" to do this.

"I wanted to give this experience of having a uniquely designed piece to everyone"

"Obviously haute couture is very expensive and mass production is very cheap. And the customer cannot communicate to the designer. So I thought technology could provide a solution and help realise my idea. So that was the staring point. When I design clothes I want to see people happy wearing them and enjoying life. Haute couture is the best design but as that is not possible for everyone, it is my aim to find a solution." Nakazato says his new technique is a breakthrough discovery in fashion technology. He uses a digital technique that creates a system where clothes are adaptable and grow with you ~ upwards or outwards ~ and that can incorporate wearable devices, be easily fixed and even be passed down to and adapted to your children. It sounds like the ultimate in sustainable dressing.

Riveted squares of digitally cut fabrics
 that make up Nakazato's new designs
"I feel couture is the future of fashion," Nakazato says. "This technology is sustainable, so if your body changes you can customise the clothes or if you damage some part of it you can just change it ~ so you don't just throw it away. The clothes become like another skin and you can even give it to your daughter, just changing the design and size." This digital haute couture uses 3D techniques to produce garments for every type and shape of body. The nine different designs shown by Nakazato in Paris, were all created with digitally cut squares of fabric. Instead of a traditional fitting where the body is measured, the wearer is scanned through a device before numbered squares of digitally cut fabrics are riveted together to form a perfectly fitting piece. His new 1950s-inspired collection includes evening dresses and a version of Dior's classic Bar suit as well as jeans and a leather jacket ~ all created with digitally-cut squares of fabric. Nakazato said the major breakthrough was finding a way to use everyday fabrics like cotton, nylons and wool which are difficult to control using digital fabrication.

 "That was the most difficult part," he says. "But in the end we succeeded. We can design every type and shape of garment to be a precise fit to the wearer's figure. Digital fabrication is very useful mainly for PVC, rubber or plastic. But I wanted to use traditional fabrics and although these are hard to control using digital tools we found a way of doing it."

"Mass customisation is possible because my team have removed the major constraint of using needles and thread"

Custom-made clothes, particularly haute couture, are out of reach for most people. But Nakazato argues his technology would change that: “We want to create a world where everyone can have tailor-made garments. Mass customisation is possible because my team have removed the major constraint of using needles and thread." The designer has developed the technique in Japan with engineers, 3D designers and sculptors so clothes can be adjusted to be a precise fit to the wearer's figure.

"With this system we are now able to build all silhouettes imaginable," Nakazato says. "It is like creating a garment from a dress pattern but with even more flexibility." The designer has been working for six months on the new 3D clothes-making technique using natural materials like cotton and wool plus nylons. While the designer admitted that his work was very much at the experimental stage, he insisted that "future mass customisation" is possible. "There is still a lot of work by hand in putting the clothes together," Nakazato explains. "It is like technology and craftsmanship put together." The designer says that aesthetically his digital creations still had a long way to go to reach the perfection of classic haute couture which must be made by hand.

For his latest collection, Nakazato wanted to combine his new way of constructing textiles with the past so that they melded together. "We have a long term vision for the future as we develop and show the evolution each season," Nakazato says. "For this collection I chose the 1950s as the theme, which is an interesting era for me, because it is a very strong period for haute couture after the second world war. Couture gave a lot of energy to people with its elegance and drama. At the same time, the post-war era was also the starting point of mass production for jeans and bomber jackets. It is interesting that these things that are totally different but happened at the same time. "

"We have a long term vision for the future and we develop and show the evolution each season"


Yuima Nakazato with a bomber jacket
 and fitted coat using his new technology
The designer began to be interested in fashion as a student because at his high school in Japan they could choose to wear whatever they wanted, unlike most Japanese schools where a uniform is de rigueur. "I liked looking at fashion magazines ~ there was no Internet then ~ so we were reading magazines and seeing the "street snaps," a very typically Japanese part of culture with pictures of people standing on the street which I really liked." But he decided that fashion would be his career after seeing the first Japanese designers graduating from the Royal Academy Antwerp in 2002. "I saw their graduate collections in the newspaper and they looked so colourful and interesting I was shocked. Seeing these designs changed me dramatically and inspired me to go into the fashion world more deeply and immediately I decided to do Antwerp's fashion degree as well."

Nankazato's show included film, music, models
and mannequins 
Today, when Nakazato is designing a new collection he begins with with key words and a story as a starting point, afterwards he begins the research. "For this collection, I spoke to many different people including sculptors, architects and engineers to get inspiration and knowledge," He says."Afterwards, I shared it with the rest of the team and we started the research together, studying materials and textiles. But the vision and story is the most important part and then finding solutions with digital fabrication, 3D printers and stories from history." But ultimately the designer is looking for a way of creating fashion design that makes people feel happier. "That is why I would like the clothes of the future to all be unique and different as I think that makes everyone feel good. Right now we have to wear mass produced clothes because of the cost. But that is all changing with this new technology and it makes for a very interesting moment in fashion."

Tap on photographs for full-screen slideshow
Japanese designer Yuima Nakazato with his new creations in Paris
A model wearing Nakazato's digital couture dress
Guests at the Yuima Nakazato show take a closer look at his revolutionary new system of making unique garments
After Nakazato's haute couture show, guests examine the clothes on mannequins
A striking denim and pink gown made using Nakazato's technique of digitally-cut squares of fabric that fit the body
Leather riveted ensemble of trousers and jacket created with Nakazato's new technology
Elegant, fitted dress that seems both contemporary and related to Dior's New Look all made with Nakazato's digital technology
Fitted jacket and trousers created using designer Yuima Nakazato's riveted technique: "When I design clothes I want to see people happy wearing them and enjoying life."
Bomber jacket and longer tops on mannequins after the runway show. Today, when Nakazato is designing a new collection he begins with with key words and a story as a starting point, afterwards he begins the research. 
Detail of the riveted jeans and pink squares showing Nakazato's technique
 "I feel couture is the future of fashion," Nakazato says. "This technology is sustainable, so if your body changes you can customise the clothes or if you damage some part of it you can just change it ~ so you don't just throw it away."
 
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