TAKASHI NISHIYAMA

Interview by Filep Motwary

Takashi Nishiyama, a 23-year-old designer inspired by computer games and monsters, is the winner of this year’s ITS competition: a seal of approval bestowed by judges including Viktor & Rolf and John Galliano. Nishiyma’s collection features voluminous layers of dark fur, drowning the models in monster silhouettes; it is simultaneously fantasy and nightmare.

Motwary:

How does it feel to win ITS?

Nishiyama:

It was a very nice experience indeed. It’s a good way to be accepted alongside graduates from the finest schools, such as the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. I’m honoured.

Motwary:

What happens now?

Nishiyama:

I think that somehow my award could give hope to students and young designers in Japan, because I am the first nominee from a Japanese school and the first Japanese kid to win. I want to keep contributing to the Japanese fashion industry, help bring out a real creative platform for young people.

Motwary:

What has changed for you?

Nishiyama:

Being broadcast in the foreign media is a special experience. Plus the prize money will help me produce my collection and make the idea a reality!

Motwary:

What inspired this collection?

Nishiyama:

I suppose my background helped me to create an original collection. I have studied at two fashion schools in Japan. First, at Bunka Fukushoku Gakuin, I learned pattern and sewing, and then at Coconogacco, I learned how to design. Recent competitions around the world have shown a tendency to award wearable collections. I tried to add a taste of experimentation to the real clothes, in garments that are wearable. I liked that Viktor & Rolf were judges and that they loved it! The theme of my collection was “Monster Hunter”, becauseI wanted to reflect contemporary Japanese pop culture at an international competition. Monster Hunter is a Japanese TV game in which the players hunt monsters to collect new weapons. I was in-spired by this game a lot, and by Japanese commuters, who enjoy playing games on the train.So the story of my collection is about salary-men fighting with monsters, and wearing the details of these monsters on their own uniform. On my clothes, one can easily see monster parts alongside formalwear. I have tried to describe the backside of Japanese culture.

Motwary:

It makes sense. So are you dreaming of a future in Europe or will you stay in Tokyo for now? How does Tokyo support you as a young designer?

Nishiyama:

Unfortunately, ITS and Hyeres are not well known in Japan, so it was less well covered by Japanese than foreign media. I don’t have founders or sponsors, though I’m thankful to have much advice and co-operation from older designers like Yoshikazu Yamagata. I might need to find backers to work on the international stage soon.

Motwary:

What is the mythology behind your inspiration?

Nishiyama:

I love this Japanese monster movie you may know, called Godzilla – I’ve seen the movie many times! As a kid I enjoyed collecting monster dolls and playing computer games with monsters. I have just loved monsters since childhood.

Motwary:

What was your childhood like?

Nishiyama:

I loved mixing colors paints with my hands. I also loved drawing and paper-cutting, which often would culminate in the creation of original monsters.

Motwary:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Nishiyama:

I cannot be sure about five years from now. I want to try to show my collections to the world in order to introduce Japanese culture. I dream of making more impressive shows. The outline is for sure as important as the way of showing it out. I believea fashion designer must be an entertainer and a dream-maker.

Motwary:

Who do you look up to in the business?

Nishiyama:

When I first saw the shows of John Galliano in a video, I got so impressed and I started dreaming. His collections themselves are a performance. They give the opportunity to others to dream, and I am one of those others. I admire someone like him, who is successful as fashion designer and entertainer alike.

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SHORT BIO
Nishiyma’s work features voluminous layers of dark fur, drowning the models in monster silhouettes; it is simultaneously fantasy and nightmare. His background helped him to create an original collection. He studied at two fashion schools in Japan. First, at Bunka Fukushoku Gakuin, where he learned pattern and sewing, and then at Coconogacco, and learned how to design. Recent competitions around the world have shown a tendency to award wearable collections.