Akira Naka brings Japanese design overseas
Japanese fashion industry usually is concerned as too fragmented and too focused on the domestic market to make it overseas. Just a few Japanese designers made it’s brand went globally and nowadays Japanese designer Akira Naka seems to become one of them. He explained for ZOEmagazine how Japanese brand becomes global.
Having graduated from the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts (same batch as Demna Gvasalia, Lena Lumelsky, Taro Horiushi and other talented designers) , Akira has acquired deep tailoring skills there, along with European influences.
With the concept of “wearing the attitude,” his deep appreciation of traditional craftsmanship in fusion with advanced technology tweaks graphical design, and his refined silhouette offers active couture for modern women.
Akira’s knitwear is rooted in a mix of North European and Japanese influences, he uses three-dimensional cutting to create couture-like knit items with a refined silhouette.
In your design meets Eastern and Western viewpoints. But what is your audience?
When I used to study in Antwerp they told me that I have a eastern taste and also when I presented my collection at festival Hyeres, they told me same things. But in Japan, my clothes are written in articles as they feel the strong influence of the Western style.
Is it correct to call your design as Aesthetic Eastern? Why?
Maybe, it’s not eastern. It is Japanese. How we face to shape, color, abstract balance, is completely different from Europeans, because we have different history, different landscape, different language.
Why your design attracts Western audience ?
I don’t know if it’s attractive or not. But I feel my collection speaks different language and different is always good, isn’t it ?
Japanese fashion industry usually is considered as too fragmented and too focused on the domestic market to make it overseas. Do you try to attract attention globally?
What the Japanese market is seeking for clothes is completely different from what the other countries are seeking. So, I understand why they concentrate only in Japanese market.
If someone want to expand their market to both domestic and overseas, the collection needs to speak two languages. But what I’m about to do is express it in one language.
What are tools for Japanese brand to become global?
- Certain level of english ability to communicate with buyers and agent.
There are still lot of designer who just rely on the agent to expand their business. In order to advance things strategically, it is necessary to involve not only the design of the product but also the design of sales.
- Working with japanese craftsman and using their original materials.
The process of making crafts are completely different by the countries. It is necessary to turn your eyes on the difference and sublimate the original to modern things.
- Ability to design and build both products and companies
There are very less investor who works with fashion labels. So, It is too late to assemble the company after the business grows big. For that, we must organize management teams from the brand’s foundation. However, there are few brands who realize it in Japan.