Yohji Yamamoto Profile
Since the launch of his first Menswear collection in 1981, Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto has been recognised for the avant-garde spirit of his designs, including oversized silhouettes, drapery and varying textures. In addition to his eponymous clothing line, in 2003, Yamamoto created a new label named Y-3 in collaboration with sportswear brand Adidas. He is often labelled one of the most influential designers in both men's and women's fashion.
Yohji Yamamoto is one of the most influential creators of the past 40 years with respect to traditional clothing codes and his intellectual approach to design. He knew how to preserve his independence in the fashion industry, which allowed him to express himself freely in his uncompromising creations and collaborations with the same spirit.
Yamamoto’s unbreakable spirit to achieve and influence was present throughout his entire lifetime. A timeline made up of all of his launches and success conveys the true determination and perseverance of Yamamoto and his work.
Yohji Yamamoto was born in Tokyo in 1943. His father sadly died fighting in the war when Yohji was a young boy. Yohji was therefore raised by his mother a formidable woman who would provide the foundation for her son’s future success. His mother, Fumi, ran a dress making shop, working hard to support her son and to provide him with a good education.
His mother’s determination paid off when Yohji graduated from Keio university in Tokyo in 1966 with a graduation degree in Law, which he followed up with a 3 year fashion degree from Bunka Fukuso Gakuin, school of fashion, also in Tokyo. Helping his mother in the shop taught Yohji some of the more practical elements of working in the fashion design business.
In 1969 Yohji received two leading fashion awards in Japan, the So-En Award and the Endo Award, a precursor perhaps to the award winning career in design that he was destined for.
After spending some time in Paris after graduating, Yohji returned home to Tokyo where he established Y’s Company Ltd. His mother’s continued support and belief in her son led her to sell her dressmaking store so that she could help him to pursue his dreams; allowing his Ys collection to launch in Japan in 1977.
Fortunately, the collection sold well and he was on his way to becoming an established designer with a reputation for excellence. In 1981 he saw his opportunity for international expansion and showed his collection in Paris. The collection was well received and his business continued to build momentum. He presented his first Yohji Yamamoto collection in New York in 1982.
His Career went from strength to strength. He presented his +Noir collection in 1995 which he followed up shortly after with the introduction of his first perfume, Yohji in 1996.
2002 saw Yohji being appointed as Creative Director of Y-3 an accesible brand that is the perfect fusion of Adidas street style and Yohji’s iconic luxury designs.
Yamamoto’s undeniable talent has led him to be one of the most sought after designers of recent times, you can find out more about the life and times of the iconic designer by reading his autobiography, My Dear Bomb.
Awards and accolades
1969 Receives two leading fashion awards in Japan, the So-En Award and the Endo Award.
1982. 26th Fashion Editors Club of Japan ( FECJ) Award, Tokyo.
1986 4th Mainichi Fashion Grand Prix, Tokyo.
1991 35th Fashion Editors Club of Japan ( FECJ) Award, Tokyo.
1994 Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres nomination from the French Minister for Culture and the 12th Mainichi Fashion Grand Prix, Tokyo
1997 40th Fashion Editors Club of Japan ( FECJ) Award, Tokyo and the Night of Stars Fashion & Lifestyle Award from Fashion Group, New York.
1998 Arte e Moda Award from Pitti Immagine, Florence.
1999 18th Annual Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) International Award, New York
2002 Talking to Myself by Yohji Yamamoto receives the Die Schönten Deutschen Buecher 2002 Bronze Medal, Leipzig Book Fair.
2004 Purple Ribbon Medal of Honour, Tokyo.
2005 Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite nomination from the French President.
2011 Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres nomination from the French Minister for Culture.
2017 DFA Lifetime Achievement Award from Design For Asia, Hong Kong.