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Rei Kawakubo Fashion Statement In 1980's (Research Paper Sample)


A single image of fashionable dress, as defined by the focus of this course, will serve as the basis for an exploration and analysis of both historical style and the image itself. The image both guides and focuses the paper: a successful paper consistently analyzes the period and each category through the original image. Each paper will address somewhat different topics, but for the most part will consider cultural context, designer, artist, model, materiality, etc. This assignment builds upon the skills developed in Integrative Design Studio and Seminar. Due dates are staggered throughout the semester; each component is graded separately (late work and plagiarism policies in effect for each part).
Papers are to be five pages; length assumes Times New Roman or similar font (12 point) or 250 words per page, double-spaced, with one-inch margin on all sides, and additional footnotes, illustrations, and bibliography, with formal academic structure and language. Spelling and grammar as well as Parsons-mandated formatting (Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian, 16th edition) will be counted toward your final grade, as well as quality and number (minimum six) of sources.


Student Name
Rei Kawakubo fashion statement
Rei Kawakubo is a fashion icon and regarded as one of the most influential designers in the world. His collection to the Parisian public in 1981 highlighted her inspiration and creativity and brought her to the public limelight. The Comme Des Garcons design was a departure from the Western fashion designs that accentuated the female body in loose-fitting fabric characterized by its asymmetrical hemlines and abstract shapes. Many of the western designers at the time termed the design as absurd because it didn't conform to the body conscious dresses they were accustomed to. In addition and unlike most dresses the design didn't follow the natural verticality and was seen to be almost horizontal. Nonetheless, the design revolutionalised the fashion industry across Europe and had an overall far reaching impact on the international scene. The research paper examines the significance of Rei Kawakubo's design, the Comme Des Garcons by highlighting its cultural context and the key themes that inspired its creativity.
Cultural context of the Japanese fashion industry before the Comme Des Garcon
The early Japanese designers during the 1960's and 1970's such as Hanae Mori and Kansai Yamamoto had managed to blend the eastern elements to the western fashion and produced exotic designs. Lee notes “characteristics such as layering, loose voluminous fit, wide sleeves and the use of fine silks printed with nature motifs, were elements of traditional Japanese dress introduced to western fashion by early designers”. The statement shows that the designers were more influenced with the western perception of fashion and as a result left much of the Japanese concepts in their designs. The Japanese are widely conservative in their life style and dressing with the notable kimono attire that covered the entire body and barely showed any skin. The other early Japanese designers focused on remodeling the Japanese work clothes that were characterized by baggy pants into useful casual dresses acceptable in the western society. Therefore, Kawakubo's design was a significant move back to the Japanese culture in its simple and conservative way. Her designs used large amounts of fabric and looked very heavy on the wearer. Lee further states in his article “Her influential 1982 collection Destroy featured oversized loosely knit sweaters with holes of varying sizes that looked as though they had been slashed open”. Her fashion sense was different from what the industry was used to and as a result many termed her designs as anti-fashion. However, Kawakubo was inspired to create designs that were not intended to gain the approval of men and was a step from the normal that focused on the exposure of the body. She was completely against revealing clothes which she considered unsexy and boring. The creative freedom she was given from early on in her career enabled her to venture out and explore new possibilities in the fashion industry. Some have added the independence accorded to her at work and the fact that she was brought up by an independent mother as being the reasons behind her care free attitude in her creations. Nonetheless, Kawakubo's has always portrayed her philosophy in her creations which was to question the clichés and the western oriental clothing. Her creations also intended the audience to think outside the box and create self-sufficient women.[Lee, Kyung-Hee. “Costume Messages Of Kawakubo Rei.” Journal of the Korean Society for Clothing Industry 12.2 (2010): 140] [Lee, Kyung-Hee, 143]
Key themes of the Comme Des Garcon
Kawakubo's creation elicited mixed reactions during its debut year and more so...

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