Irenebrination's week-long Academy of Art University Special closes today with Rumi Iwasaki's collection. Hope you enjoyed this special that was originally done for Zoot Magazine.
Though challenging, reinventing menswear is definitely not impossible, at least according to Academy of Art University BFA Menswear Design graduate Rumi Iwasaki.
Born in Yokohama, Japan, but growing up between her native country and the Philippines, Iwasaki's graduate collection was inspired by vintage military uniforms in a modern and mininalist key. To make her garments Iwasaki mainly employed fabrics ranging from boiled wool to leather and jersey.
Can you tell us more about your background?
Rumi Iwasaki: I am part Japanese and part Filipino. I have lived in many countries because of my father's work and studied in an English school. I basically grew up in a multi-cultural community, with kids from different countries and backgrounds. I originally wanted to take Fine Arts and Architecture at the Royal Academy in London, but I was always interested and inclined towards Fashion as well.
Who has been the greatest influence on your career choices?
Rumi Iwasaki: My inspiration in pursuing the arts is my late grandfather in Japan. He was a photographer and had his own studio in the '30s but he couldn't get on with his profession because his studio was destroyed by the war. That's the main reason why I have always been very interested in photography. I love Hedi Slimane, and Ellen von Unwerth. Music and films are other disciplines I take a lot of inspiration from.
How did you feel at showcasing your collection at the Academy of the Arts fashion show?
Rumi Iwasaki: It was great and I was overwhelmed because I worked on this project for a year. It was a wonderful experience, I got mentioned in a couple of pieces in the press and my male models got a lot of fans as well!
What's the main inspiration behind your collection?
Rumi Iwasaki: World War photography, vintage militaria and vintage formal wear. I gathered a whole lot of photography from the 1900s for reference. I chose a lighter colour palette because I wanted to represent the "modern dandy" and bring out the masculinity, while employing a fresh palette, soft tailoring, and subtlety.
You are among the very few students who opted for menswear - how would you like to reinvent it in future?
Rumi Iwasaki: I love designing menswear. Subtlety is very important in menswear, because we are very limited in design. I want to keep creating menswear and bring forth a type of masculinity that is forever subtle and luxurious and depends on a new fit, fabrication, and other tailoring aspects.
What kind of materials did you use to make the collection?
Rumi Iwasaki: For this collection, I mainly worked with heavy wools, leather, and suede. There is no particular technique except for perfecting the fit and proportion of the garments.
What are your future plans?
Rumi Iwasaki: I want to keep on creating menswear. I have plans to go to Europe and maybe to Italy since there are a lot more things to discover regarding menswear there. I think I'm done with studying and now I would like to gain more experience in the industry. There's a lot more people to meet and a lot of things to look forward to outside of the academic environment.
All images by Randy BrookeMember of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos