All you need to know about Rei Kawakubo

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Rei Kawakubo

Date of birth: 11 October 1942

Birthplace: Japan

Label: Comme des Garçons

“For something to be beautiful it doesn’t have to be pretty.”

If you love Yohji Yamamoto’s works you will definitely be interested in the high-fashion label – “Comme des Garçons” (CDG), which was founded by a self-taught fashion designer – Rei Kawakubo. Kawakubo’s iconoclastic vision made her one of the most influential designers of the late 20th century. Her clothing is known for being “anti-fashion”. The rebellious clothes tend to be made with dark colors and are cut and sewn in unique and innovative ways.

I have created a biography timeline and collected some interesting facts about her.

Comme des Garçons’s Brand Identity

Rei Kawakubo

Aesthetic:

“I work in three shades of black.”

Comme des Garçon’s design concept is about creating art, not clothes. Its innovation makes you rethink the idea of beauty. It is meant to provide clothes for independent people who want to express themselves through clothing (wearing freedom) and avoid mainstream fashion trends. Sometimes Kawakubo’s clothing designs are so abstract and unconventional that they can hardly be worn.

  • Main color is black.
  • Uses deconstruction styles and distressed fabrics.
  • Gender ambiguity.
  • Assymetrical innovative tailoring.
  • Oversized, unconventional silhouettes.
  • Unfinished seams.
  • Combines different clothing garments.

Brands:

“If I do something I think is new, it will be misunderstood, but if people like it, I will be disappointed because I haven’t pushed them enough. The more people hate it, maybe the newer it is. Because the fundamental human problem is that people are afraid of change. The place I am always looking for-because in order to keep the business I need to make a little compromise between my values and customers’ values-is the place where I make something that could almost-but not quite-be understood by everyone.”

Comme des Garçons is a luxury fashion and streetwear brand with an enormous and unique personality. It has different diffusion labels to target different customer segmentation, but the brand’s image is also starting to get blurry because of it.

Here is the list of Comme des Garçons lines:
・COMME des GARÇONS COMME des GARÇONS
・COMME des GARÇONS noir
・COMME des GARÇONS HOMME PLUS
・COMME des GARÇONS HOMME PLUS EVER GREEN
・COMME des GARÇONS HOMME DEUX
・COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT
・COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT GIRL
・COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT boys
・COMME des GARÇONS GIRL
・COMME des GARÇONS PARFUMS
・PLAY COMME des GARÇONS
・BLACK COMME des GARÇONS
・COMME des GARÇONS EDITED
・The Beatles COMME des GARÇONS
・Wallet COMME des GARÇONS
・JUNYA WATANABE COMME des GARÇONS
・COMME des GARÇONS JUNYA WATANABE MAN
・eYe COMME des GARÇONS JUNYA WATANABE MAN
・JUNYA WATANABE COMME des GARÇONS MAN (PINK)
・JUNYA WATANABE MAN bis
・COMME des GARÇONS HOMME
・tricot COMME des GARÇONS

Kawakubo has also collaborated with a number of brands, including Adidas, Nike, H&M, Anti-Social Club, Dr. Martens, The North Face, and more; and with artists such as Peter Saville, Raf Simons, Coco Capitan, etc.

Here are must-know facts about Rei Kawakubo:

“My energy comes from freedom and a rebellious spirit.”

  1. Romantic relationship with Yohji Yamamoto. Kawakubo was into her thirties when she started romantic relationship with Yohji Yamamoto, earning the nicknames “the monk and the nun”. They made their Paris débuts the same year and they both wanted to break the rules. Yohji Yamamoto likes to say that “perfection is the devil”, which aslo true for Rei Kawakubo. 
  2. Kawakubo dislikes having to explain her design. Kawakubo is famously private, giving only few interviews throughout her career. Several years ago, she stopped taking a bow after her shows. She insists that the only way to know her is “through my clothes.” 
  3. Kawakubo’s husband speaks five languages. Although Kawakubo can speak and understand English, Joffe often acts as his wife’s interpreter. The couple have no children, and they frequently travel to exotic and unusual destinations.
  4. Creations that come out of a certain kind of unhappiness. In the interview with Elle, Kawakubo revealed that her creations come from unhappiness. She says that in Japan they claim “this thing like the hungry spirit—the hungry mind—is what gets you going forward.”
  5. Brand’s name was inspired by Françoise Hardy’s 1962 song. In which a teenage girl enviously watches happy couples walking and wonders if the day will come when—“comme les garçons et les filles de mon age”—she will find someone to love her. 
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