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Yohji Yamamoto

About Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto - the avant-garde brand breaking taboos and discarding common sense

Yohji Yamamoto is one of Japan's three major maisons. In the 1980s Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons was behind the high-fashion movement dubbed "the crow tribe" - Japanese youngsters who dressed in head-to-toe black amid the technicolor indulgences of the bubble era. These two brands, along with Issey Miyake, were also behind the DC Brand boom, a movement that put the high-fashion vision of idiosyncratic designers front and center. A rebellious spirit of breaking taboos and contradicting common sense and social norms are another common thread for these Japanese fashion greats. The clothes themselves are mainly monochrome, with randomly placed holes and wrinkled fabric being a recurring theme. The name Yohji Yamamoto is synonymous with avant-garde fashion disrupting classical style, and every new collection receives attention both at home and abroad.


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The history of Yohji Yamamoto begins with the establishment of his own pret-a-porter brand Y's in 1972. In 1981, Yohji Yamamoto followed in the footsteps of Issey Miyake and debuted his first collection at Paris Fashion Week. This show, as well as the concurrent Comme des Garcons debut show, caused a huge stir in Paris fashion with its monochrome coloring and ragged, unexpected styling. At a time where other designers were embracing exuberant color and materialism, Yohji Yamamoto broke utterly with the zeitgeist with his all-black looks. The collection was controversial, reviled by the fashion elite but adopted with enthusiasm by counter-cultural artists and intellectuals. This initial shock, this shattering of accepted rules and common sense, remains core to the Yohji Yamamoto brand DNA to this day.

The Yohji Yamamoto line includes both menswear and womenswear as part of the main line and many diffusion brands. Y-3, the brand's collaboration with German sportswear maker Adidas, and the Y's for Living line of interior items demonstrate the breadth of the brand. The brand signature is breaking away from the human form and accepted silhouettes, conveying a bold, almost aggressive image. The price range varies between the various sub-brands - for instance a jacket from the Yohji Yamamoto main line might go for 60,000 to 90,000 yen, while a jacket from the Y's diffusion line would run to 30,000 to 50,000 yen. Due to the long-established history of the brand, the Japanese marketplace can offer a wide selection of vintage Yohji Yamamoto, which still proves popular with customers.

Yohji Yamamoto's designs tend towards a monochrome palette, and utterly disregard current trends. This was true of the brand at its 1981 Paris debut, and remains true to this day. Another brand signature is oversize silhouettes that obscure the body as well as adorning it - this was another iconoclastic move in 1980s Paris, and continues to set the brand apart to this day. The rebellious spirit of the avant-garde designer is evident in every piece, letting the wearer make a strong statement. Yohji Yamamoto is a true fashion icon whose name is synonymous with Japanese design all over the world.