Tamae Hirokawa believes fashion designing is a continuous learning process.
So the high profile Japanese designer will never miss an opportunity to observe fashion trends and imbibe ideas from around the world.
She was in Muscat recently, and her joy knew no bounds when she got an opportunity to learn about unique Omani wardrobe.
“I am impressed by the designs and patterns of Omani clothes. Men’s dishdashas, and women’s abayas are very attractive, and they inspire me to create new designs,” Hirokawa, who conducted three workshops at the invitation of Japanese Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, said.
A proponent of digital technology for creating new designs, Hirokawa has carved a niche for herself internationally with her unique ‘Second Skin’ concept. “It is a seamless knitting style that allows me to design clothes, inner structure, and patterns simultaneously through digital programming,” she explained.
According to her, clothes in Japan have begun to evolve from an era of flat-made Kimono to western style during the 20th century.
“The basic western structural technology begins from making fabric, draping on torso, cutting patterns and sewing. It comprised of a series of separate tasks. Later, the hand-made haute couture gave way to mass production of designer clothes thanks to the economic development in 20th century,” she said.
Hirokawa considers digital technology as an essential tool in fashion designing. “Digital technology gives forms to the ideas of designers, and it can sometimes seem like a magical tool. However, technology requires both tools and people.”
It was in 2006 that Hirokawa established her own studio, Soma Design, along with the designing project, Somart, in Japan.
Soma Design soon captured the imagination of fashionistas in Japan, thanks to the introduction of unique products. “We have made our presence felt in the fashion industry during the last 10 years. Apart from creating clothes, we work with leading technology companies like Yamaha.”
One may wonder what a fashion designing company will do with technology majors like Yamaha. “Yamaha produces the best wheelchairs. We have added value to their product by providing unique designs. When Yamaha’s technological brilliance combines with our amazing designs, the products become truly remarkable.”
Now, Somart is in the process of refining the Skin Series. “Humans wear their skin as a cloth of life. The Skin Series attempts to broaden the possibilities of clothes by arranging patterns 360 Degree over the body in a seamless manufacturing process. Body expressions, enhanced by the structuring of light together with artisan-crafted decorations and embroidery, have made this dream possible,” she said.
As the fashion industry grows at a faster pace, Hirokawa believes that designers should understand the culture and character of their country to create unique products.
“If you want to be a fashion designer, you should be aware of the culture, history and background of the country to create exceptional clothes,” she exhorts fashion designers from the Sultanate.