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Yuima Nakazato (Tokyo, Japan)

A graduate of Royal Academy Antwerp who creates conceptual fashion inspired by a philosophical view of the moment

Fresh from his degree in fashion design at the Royal Academy in Antwerp Yuima Nakazato has returned to Tokyo to focus on accessories and footwear inspired by the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Nakazato's two-dimensional flat shapes mold to the body to create three-dimensional sculptures challenging the notions of jewellery to create technological, wearable art. For such a young designer Yuima work shows a developed maturity perhaps influenced by parents who are both practicing artists, his designs feature delicate metallics precision sliced to bend and flex, paradoxical body armor in shimmering gold.

Dazed Digital: How old are you?  
Yuima Nakazato: I am 23 years old

DD: How long have you been designing?
Yuima Nakazato: Not long, I graduated from the Royal Academy Antwerp in 2008; on graduating we took our final collections around Europe (Italy, France, Latvia, Belgium) as part of the Academy show. I returned to Tokyo in 2009 and started freelancing for another designer. I show my own work in Paris now.

DD: Where are you based?
Yuima Nakazato: Tokyo, Japan

DD: What was it like studying in Antwerp?
Yuima Nakazato: Creation and life. Five years ago, I only attended a technique school in Japan, which wasn’t right for me; I wanted to study fashion with a wider view from a different set of values.  As there wasn’t this type of school in Japan I started to search further afield, I saw an impressive article on the School - it was then I decided to go to Antwerp!

DD: Why the move from clothing to shoes and accessories?
Yuima Nakazato: Shoes and accessory are an extension of the clothes for me so I don’t feel I have moved or changed direction.
With footwear when I think of a new shape or direction I have to consider the function because it is necessary to walk. I prefer to use primitive material (wooden heel, natural leather) together with a futuristic shape. Accessories are based on Japanese Origami, where 2-D becomes 3-D, when the jewelry is worn it takes a 3-D and removed it becomes a flat shape. This is also a primitive idea of living together with technological material.

DD: What inspires you at the moment?
Yuima Nakazato: Old people's Imagination! I took my thoughts beyond today as we are surrounded by so much information our imagination has become restricted. I focused on Leonardo Da Vinci and his futuristic designs, the Airplane, Tank and so on together with a natural energy – human energy, hydro etc.  The concept behind the collection mixes together primitive feeling and futuristic atmosphere.

DD: Who are your favourite designers and why?  
Yuima Nakazato: The early work of Martin Margiela - such innovation for the creation of fashion

DD: How would you describe your style?  
Yuima Nakazato: Always conceptual, with a message that is immediate to what I want to say at this moment, a way of expression. When I create clothes which cannot be worn or perhaps sold, it is fashion, it is necessary to create at this moment, which is why I will continue to create conceptual designs.

DD: Were you interested in fashion while growing up?
Yuima Nakazato: Since I was a child I was always watching my parents at work, they are both artists (Mother - Jeweller designer, Father – Sculptor) I would touch and feel art everyday – it was very natural. Fashion was my way of expressing myself since I was a child.

DD: What are your plans for the future?
Yuima Nakazato: I am about to design a costume for a famous Japanese musician; unfortunately I am unable to reveal who they are yet. In October I will show a whole collection in Paris – clothes, shoes and accessories – a fresh challenge!

DD: What is your dream job?
Yuima Nakazato: Fashion Designer.

DD: Who would you design for/who would you like to collaborate with?
Yuima Nakazato: I would love to design for my muse Bjork; she is a strong woman with a heavy artistic feeling.

DD: Can we buy your collection anywhere? If so, where?
Yuima Nakazato: It is not possible right now... but in the future…!