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Comme des Garcons - a leading Japanese brand that influenced the fashion world

Comme des Garcon is a Japanese brand launched by Rei Kawakubo in 1969. The name is French for "like the boys." The brand ranks at the very top of global Japanese fashion, joined by Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto. All three creatives were a key part of the designer-focused DC boom of the 1980s, drawing followers for their personas as well as their design. Rei Kawakubo's fashion genius is respected and valued on a global scale, cited as an inspiration by fashion industry greats like Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen. In-house designer Junya Watanabe also launched a celebrated brand of his own under the Comme des Garcons umbrella, which has been a success in Paris and other fashion capitals.


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Comme des Garcons designer Rei Kawakubo was born in 1942, and joined the advertising department of Asahi Kasei after graduating from Keio University. Three years later, she left this job to become a designer. The brand Comme des Garcons was launched in 1969, and developed into its own company in 1973. The Paris debut of Comme des Garcons in 1981 was a controversial event, with the straight lines and de-emphasized bodies causing a great deal of media mockery deriding the collection as rag cloths" and "Hiroshima chic," but the avant-garde collection caused a shockwave in contemporary fashion. Knit garments with randomly placed holes in the fabric were an early Comme des Garcons staple, which Rei Kawakubo described as "Comme des Garcons lace," the name a compelling contrast to the random, shabby nature of the clothes.

Comme des Garcons is known for unisex designs mainly made in black, that de-emphasize and obfuscate the lines of the body. The running of Comme des Garcons is another contrast to many fashion businesses - the company does not offer licensing to third parties, all sales staff get full-time work and benefits, and most of the clothes are still produced in Japan. Rei Kawakubo has enjoyed a stellar career, leveraging her taste, skill, and unique worldview to go from self-taught fashion designer to a widely acknowledged positions as one of the most significant female designers of our time.

Comme des Garcons has a total of 16 well-received brands and diffusion lines. In addition to the Comme des Garcons main line, 1978 saw the establishment of menswear line Comme des Garcons Homme. In 1987, Comme des Garcons Homme Deux was launched, focusing primarily on applying the Comme des Garcons eye for detailing to precise tailoring and other more traditional menswear items. The tricot Comme des Garcons line was founded in 1981, and specializes in knitwear and other everyday basics with the signature Comme des Garcons twist. The secondary line Comme des Garcons Comme des Garcons, often called Comme Comme, shows in Paris right after the main line and offers more wearable takes on the signature look. This line has proven especially popular in Europe and the United States. In addition to these, there's also the Comme des Garcons Shirt line that continually reinvents the shirt, as well as a range of other lines offering wallets, accessories, and much more.