Yuya Nakata (POSTELEGANT)
TOKYO FASHION AWARD 2019, Winning Designer
Born in 1988 in Gifu,Japan. 2010 Graduated from Académie Internationale de Coupe de Paris 2011 Graduated from Nagoya University of Arts and Sciences 2013 Graduated from Fashion design department of Bunka Fashion graduate University with First place 2014 ONWARD Co. as Desiggner of BEIGE 2017 POSTELEGANT started.
As the brand name “POSTELEGANT = POST-ELEGANT” shows, POSTELEGANT offers elegant modern wear pillared around materials backed with the high skills of Japanese craftsmen, which can be worn beyond generation or gender. Debuting with their 2017 A/W collection, and becoming a popular brand in an instant, POSTELEGANT is spreading their existence both domestically and internationally, by being awarded last year’s TOKYO FASHION AWARD 2019, thereby experiencing exhibits at Europe and a runway show at Tokyo. We spoke to their Creative Director, Mr. Yuya Nakata, about his passion behind clothes-making and future aspirations.
Please tell us the background behind how you came to start-up POSTELEGANT.
I’ve always had an interest in fashion, even as a child, and my dream was to one-day become a fashion designer. After studying fashion at school, I joined Onward-Kashiyama. I had a strong will to one-day become independent and establish my own brand, so I figured it would be wise to experience the flow of Japanese clothes-making in totality at a large company. Luckily, I was assigned to a department which fit me, and being trusted from my seniors, I was able to experience all sorts of responsibilities. After two and a half years of working at the company, I felt I pretty much experienced all I need to and decided to start-up my own brand.
What kind of vision or concept did you have in starting up your own brand?
My wish was to make pieces which would be worn dearly, pieces which would remain, no matter how small the amount. I have experience interning at mina perhonen when I was a student, during which time, there were many instances when I caught glimpse of their designer, Mr. Akira Minagawa, plan everything under a long span, under the vision of creating a brand which will remain 100 years from now. Despite the difference in taste, I too feel the same way towards creating, and would like to make timeless clothes which look great even decades later. POSTELEGANT clothes are not flashy or eye catching at first glance, but I would like to continue offering it to people whom understand its value by actually touching it or wearing it, and people whom share the kind of thoughts I’ve just explained.
Please tell us the points you are especially particular about in making clothes.
This connects to what I just said, but unless the clothes are made with good materials, they won’t remain physically, so I am particular about the textile I use. Many Japanese weavers have globally top-level skills, and I start my clothes making process by discussing with them what sort of textile can be made. This season, rather than deciding first on how many pants patterns or how many coat patterns to make, I’ve taken a stance of first preparing the textile, then creating as many items as time allows, and those items I couldn’t make it time, I’ve left for next season. Therefore, I’m striving to be conscious of maintaining consistency of coordination even if straddling over multiple seasons. Actually, from my first collection, I’ve numbered all my products.
Does that mean you don’t establish a seasonal theme?
I don’t establish a specific theme, but I do have time-to-time tempers or moods. For example, in my collection for the 2020 S/S season, inspired by a photographic collection of the Mexican architect Luis Barragan, I created textiles mixing Japanese washi-paper with wool and/or silk, from a viewpoint of dry materials fit for weathers in hot areas. The mood of this photographic collection is reflected also in the texture and/or selection of colors of the textiles. These are simply a part of the process I go through when making, so it’s not like I stamp out a clear seasonal theme, but as I’ve created the 2019 S/S season collection also inspired by beach sceneries depicted in ‘Cape Light’, the photographic collection of the photographer Joel Meyerowitz, I think I tend to create by imagining what kind of clothes I would wear if I were at the spot.
One of the characteristics of POSTELEGANT is that, although it is identified as a women’s brand, you offer many unisex items also, is it not?
Yes. Except for dresses or skirts, from the pattern stage I think of designs which can be worn by both men and women, and make sure not to shape the waist too much. This too also connects into what I talked about earlier, but the expression of feminism changes largely with changes in times, so it is my wish to eliminate such factors as much as possible and create timeless designs.
You indicate your title as “Creative Director” rather than “Designer”. Is there something you are particular about here too?
I’m not too fond of the word “designer’s brand”. When you say designer’s brand, I feel there is a strong nuance of the brand belonging to the designer, but all sorts of people are involved in the process of clothes making, such as weavers, sawing factories, etc. Among such people, I am simply the person whom directs the whole process, and I want to convey the nuance that there are many people active in the background, so I use the title Creative Director. Furthermore, all POSTELEGANT products come with a tag written Made in Japan in the same size as the product tag. This is also because I want to convey that high skills of all sorts of people are encompassed in our products.
It’s only been 2 years since you started up the brand, but please tell us the road up to here, and your plans for the future.
Having been awarded the TOKYO FASHION AWARD last year, I’ve been able to exhibit in Europe, and our products are gradually being carried at shops which I had hoped to be carried at, so I feel we’ve come thus far in much better shape than I had imagined. I’m beginning to feel a sure response in overseas developments, which was something I was conscious of from the very start of the brand, so I intend to continue making opportunities to present at Paris. From here on, I hope to hold dear this atmosphere of being able to make the things I want and continue offering our clothes to those people whom agree with the brand.
Interview by Yuki Harada
Translation by Aiko Osaki
Photography by Yohey Goto (interview)