Posted by Stephan Moskovic | June 8th, 2017

KOZABURO

Raised in Tokyo and educated in London and New York, Kozaburo Akasaka can rightfully lay claim to the title of “global” designer, but his heart keeps returning to his childhood. “When I was growing up in the Nineties in Japan, the alternative music scene was popular and I spent a lot of time watching MTV under the influence of my brother,” he recalls. “I feel this left a great impression on me—how musicians acted and played music on stage, and how they dressed to express their individuality.”
A graduate of both Central Saint Martins and Parsons’ MFA program—just last year—Akasaka says he has brought his memories of Tokyo street style and the Japanese tradition of mottainai, or ‘waste nothing,’ to his designs, which often incorporate previously used materials and reference urban subcultures. “I generally like things that show age and a sense of story,” he explains. “I believe this identity of an object makes it unique. I think this applies to each human being and I feel this is a beautiful thing. From the beginning, my clothes already had a little bit of age to them, a bit of character—and then, of course, as people wear them, they take on additional character as well.”

“I generally like things that show age and a sense of story. I believe this identity of an object makes it unique. I think this applies to each human being and I feel this is a beautiful thing.”

As for his process, Akasaka calls it “fluid” and “literally hands on,” meaning he begins by studying the unique nature of each piece of fabric he manipulates before letting its idiosyncrasies guide him. His brand’s growth, then, has presented both new opportunities and obstacles—which have helped further shape the way he works. “My creation comes from a very personal place, and I was making the garments for both sample and production myself,” he explains. “Now I’ve started working with external people in multiple levels of my work, which I never really expected to enjoy, but surprisingly, I’m beginning to like it as I find new challenges different from those I had before.”
Even as it develops, the core of Kozaburo remains—and will remain—Akasaka’s own fertile invention. Production will continue to escalate, but Akasaka promises never to lose his fascination with craft and the past, even as his reuse of fabric puts other designers’ claims of “sustainability” to shame. “It’s about using what’s available,” he says, “recognizing a ‘soul’ in each item, and creating new narratives.”

The LVMH 8 2017

Presenting Models.com’s exclusive spotlight on each of the eight finalists for the 2017 LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize in anticipation of their final presentation at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

On June 16, LVMH will announce the winner of their 2017 Young Fashion Designer Prize, chosen from a pool of eight finalists: Ambush, Atlein, Cecile Bahnsen, Jahnkoy, Kozaburo, Marine Serre, Molly Goddard, and Nabil Nayal. First launched in November 2013, the LVMH Prize was created to help celebrate rising design talent and encourage their growth, with the winner receiving both a 300,000 euro grant and a year of technical and financial support from the LVMH Foundation’s experts. These eight young designers from across the globe reflect the industry’s international reach, demonstrating expansive visions in an era of ever-tightening horizons. As barriers go up across borders and the world turns inward, they offer a reassuring reminder that creativity is about confronting the foreign and finding yourself changed for the better.

The winner will be selected by a jury comprised of some of fashion’s most notable creators, from Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld to Riccardo Tisci and J.W. Anderson, overseen by LVMH’s Delphine Arnault — a group that should have no trouble picking a standout talent. Victory will be sweet of course, but if past years are anything to go by, this is one prize where being nominated is truly an honor in and of itself.

Photography by Steven Yatsko for Models.com
Stylist Ron Hartleben
Makeup Feride Uslu (MAM) using Uslu Airlines
Hair Shinya Nakagawa (ArtList)
Manicure Yukie Miyakawa

Art Direction Stephan Moskovic
Editors Irene Ojo-Felix, Jonathan Shia & Steven Yatsko
Text by Jonathan Shia

Models
Don Lee
Jack Page

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