In the 15-year history of International Talent Support, the talents hailing from Japan have never failed to capture the attention of the jurors.The unique beauty of their portfolios illustrating their intimate worlds and deeply personal stories, translated through a strong relationship with materials, colors and shapes always stands out.
Looking at the figures proves how special Japan’s contribution is to the ITS Seismographer: in 15 years over 700 designers have enrolled and out of the 550 total finalists from 80 countries, 55 were Japanese.Even more significant is the number of Japanese winners: as many as 20 out of 158.
On September 27th - October 4th Isetan Store in Shinjuku, Tokyo organised a very special exhibition showcasing 7 Japanese past finalists: Mikio Sakabe (Selected pieces & Outfit from ITS#FIVE award-winning collection “Reversible Manga Tailoring”), Yuima Nakazato (Selected accessories & ITS#EIGHT award-winning flat circular zipper boots), Noriko Nakazato (“Fontana di Trevi” installation piece inspired by her ITS 2014 Jewelry style), Ryota Murakami (Selected knitwear pieces & Barbara Franchin 2016 artwork printed t-shirt), Hazuki Katagai (“Weapons of Love” Artwork project presented at ITS 2016), Masaki Shimizu (“Egg Paradise” jewelry collection present at ITS 2016), Chinami Tokizawa (“Sticky Jewelry” collection presented at ITS 2016).
Outfits, accessories, works of art, jewelry pieces were on show in an amazing set-up conceived by Isetan buyer Mari Terasawa, who attended ITS 2016 last July and explains the reasons for this exhibition:
" I knew ITS well before seeing the runway show this year in Trieste, and knew also that ITS always respected greatly the personality and creativity of young designers. As the buyer for TOKYO-KAIHOUKU I am interested in proposing new designers to our clients, and this is why I have been following ITA for so long. We regularly work with many of the finalists and winners of ITS, in particular with those coming from the Coconogacco School that has developed a strong bond with the contest. In Trieste I also discovered that ITS is like a family that looks after each single member... I am truly impressed with the way ITS preserves and protects the seeds of creativity planted by the hands of the young designers."
Thousands of such seeds have reached us in the fifteen years of the contest’s history and have created a unique and profound connection between ITS and the finalists. A bond that shows through every corner of this installation: one of the creatives involved, Ryota Murakami, dedicated to ITS founder and creator Barbara Franchin a t-shirt that features her portrait. A connection that Mikio Sakabe, winner of ITS#FIVE, also attending the event, perfectly puts into words:
" I still think that was the most important experience in my life as a fashion designer. I could see so many creations by different designers in one single place, and even now I sometime visit Trieste as a teacher of Coconogacco. I still feel the excitement to meet new creators from all over the world. Isetan is one of the most important department stores in Japan, and this is a very good opportunity for the students to show their creations."
These out-of-the-box ITS Family creative minds were represented thousands of miles away from Trieste, proving our widespread presence and valuable network that continues in space and through time. And that never ceases to amaze, as seen in the jewelry section, that featured unconventional materials like colored eggs, showing the lighthearted attitude of the young Japanese jewelry designers and their creativity, free from the burden of European tradition.
In addition, side from the exhibition, on a different floor of the Isetan Store, Diesel Japan paid homage to the Fifteen Years of ITS with a capsule collection by Yuko Koike, winner of the OTB Award at ITS 2015. To complete off the story of ITS Japanese network NHK WORLD presented Yuko Koike in their format “Tokyo Fashion Express”. Already starring for the 2015 edition in a special of the same show, Yuko back then had been followed by the cameras during her entire path as a finalist, first in Tokyo and then in Trieste by means of a captivating video journal.
We’d like to leave you with a couple more comments from the past finalists involved:
" My experience with ITS was a very important turning point. I was selected and won awards both in ITS FASHION (while still a student at the Antwerp Royal Academy of Arts) and ITS ACCESSORIES (following my graduation). When I think about it, the work I am developing now with my accessories and couture line is strongly related to the awards I won at ITS, since they gave me a lot of courage and helped me find my identity.
Exhibiting at Isetan together with new and accomplished designers all gathered in one place is a very rare and special opportunity that I am grateful for. Lastly, ITS is possibly the greatest platform to freely express freely, interact and learn, and I hope the new generations aiming at a career in fashion get to know about this opportunity and challenge themselves to participate with no hesitation."
" It was a great honor for me to exhibit my artwork, created with the support of ITS & Swatch, in such a wonderful space as Isetan Shinjuku. The artwork "Weapons of Love” is a tool intended to communicate love to people and I would feel blessed if someone recalls the joy of loving others interacting with it.
It was incredible to receive such a special & unexpected award including an art residency in Shanghai from Swatch. And I am very happy to have become part of the ITS Family. I will never ever forget the wonderful moments & experiences shared with this extended family of multiple countries and languages."