INTERVIEW: HIROKO NAKAJIMA
After a foundation degree at New York’s finest, The Parsons School for Design, Hiroko Nakajima took a short flight across the pond to complete both her BA and MA at the world renowned Central Saint Martins, London – with an education like that, you’d be right in expecting great things from this young designer. Standing out from the crowd of fellow CSM graduates is no easy task, but it was pretty damn hard to avoid the bright colour palette and childish play with text and surface dimensions that this Tokyo born designer brought to the runway. She is certainly set for big things.
JAM: What motivated you to become a designer?
HN: I was into crafts since I was little and thought fashion was a very influential and exciting medium to bring my thoughts to the rest of the world.
JAM: Describe your most recent collection for us – the inspiration behind it, your starting point and how it all took shape.
HN: This collection, I was inspired by the sculptures of Marisol Escobar and Ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, especially looking at how they put a figure in a box and attached three dimensional body parts. I started juxtaposing flat surfaces with the three-dimensional, and angular lines with organic curves. All the graphics are from geometric abstractions of human body parts and objects intimately associated with them, such as necklaces and chairs, conjure the faintest suggestion of a figure.
JAM: What’s with all the numbers and letters?
HN: Those numbers are random and meaningless to raise your curiosity. Saint Martin’s new Kings Cross building used to be a storage space and I have found lots of random numbers on different walls there. I thought they were inspiring and very mysterious.
JAM: What has been the most defining moment in your career so far, and why?
HN: This MA course I just finished has definitely been the most defining moment. It was such an interesting and lively environment. I had lots of dramas!
JAM: Where do you see yourself and the brand 10 years from now?
HN: I guess I will still be doing fashion and hopefully the brand will have grown, but it’s hard to tell because I can only plan today and tomorrow!
JAM: Which other designers do you personally admire right now and why?
HN: I love Lanvin’s latest collection. It was absolutely beautiful.
JAM: What do you imagine when you think of your buyer? What does she do/wear/like and dislike?
HN: She would be someone who loves colors and wants to be unique.
JAM: What’s your first ‘Fashion Memory’ as child – an outfit you saw or wore?
HN: My grand mother who does textile used to dress me up with colorful clothes.
JAM: What is the most precious item in your wardrobe?
HN: 1920s vintage lilac lace dress. It’s torn and with so many holes but still beautiful.
JAM: If you weren’t where you are now, what do you think you’d be doing?
HN: I would be an inventor.
JAM: The sun is beginning to come out in the UK right now, what do you think the fashion forward will be wearing this Spring/Summer?
HN: Sorbet colors and lace; delicate but strong.
JAM: Finally, can you give any advise to any future designers trying to make it now?
HN: Know who you are and say what you want to say!
Words and Interview: Holly Macnaghten