Meeting YDC 2019 VIP Judge
Mihara Yasuhiro
HOMEHIGHLIGHT ▸ Meeting YDC 2019 VIP Judge: Mihara Yasuhiro

FASHIONALLY meets with Mihara Yasuhiro after the backstage judging session at Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC) 2019 to share his thoughts on Hong Kong design, the secrets behind his design process and his advice to young designers.

Mihara Yasuhiro has always been one to experiment and think outside the box. A textile design graduate from Tama Art University, Yasuhiro launched his eponymous shoe label in 1997. Since then he has created many pairs of iconic and artistic trainers. Yasuhiro debuted his menswear RTW line at Tokyo Fashion Week in 1999, and in 2004, made his first appearance at Milan Fashion Week. He launched a womenswear line in 2010.

The designer was the VIP Judge at this year’s YDC.

M: Mihara Yasuhiro

F: Fashionally

YDC 2019 VIP Judge Mihara Yasuhiro (right) & judging panel

F: What are your overall impressions of designers at YDC?

M: I came across designers with a clear message and direction, and some who are not so clear. I think those who can convey a clearer message will have a better chance at success. I also expected to see clothing designed for Hong Kong’s climate in mind –  lighter and more casual. I’m surprised to see that’s not the case, so perhaps they are not just aiming at this market.

F: Please share some thoughts on specific designers at this year’s YDC.

M: “Forgetful Still” by Wilson Yip has a lot of details and I can feel that there is a lot that he wants to express. The collection really captured my attention but maybe it’s a little too much. However, I’m surprised by his choice of styling with the oversized top paired and loose pants. On balance, I really like this idea of “imperfection”.

“1996” by Enzo Chan is a beautiful collection. However, there might already be brands with a similar aesthetic.

“Synthesis” by Andy Chiu is a very professional collection. It may not be the most innovative, but it is safe, beautiful and mature and can be sold right away.

“Already but not yet” by Louis Chow, which blurs the boundaries between inside and out, is an interesting idea. There is a good atmosphere and balance, but the designer may be overthinking what he wants to express. But overall, I love his idea and his accessories.

F: What should young designers consider if they want to launch their own label?

M: You need to think about the sustainability of your style. Can you sustain it the course of a few seasons? There is the possibility that once you’ve used up an idea, you change your style completely. For example, “Jeux Olympiques” by Kayan Lam delivers an update on vintage sportswear. It’s a strong theme and there’s some very good details. She handles classic elements well and the fit is good. My question is, however, can this concept be continued for a few seasons if it were to become a label?

F: How do you design? Do you approach shoes and apparel design differently?

M: I can only design after thinking about an idea deeply – I’m jealous of designers who have sudden inspiration out of nowhere. I approach shoes and apparel very differently. Shoes are limited in size, like a bonsai, so I try to create a whole new cosmos out of it. Clothing is the opposite. The choices are limitless so I need to impose some restrictions on myself before I can start working. In a way, being unfree is the way to the freest world.

F: What advice would you give to designers starting out in the industry today?

M: Fashion is not an easy industry to be in. It is very difficult to attract attention and many designers disappear without a trace. You should only become a fashion designer it if you really have something you want to express. Don’t go into fashion if you only want to treat it like a business.

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