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Kenzo Takada: Asian Fashion Designers can become the next trendsetters

In Singapore for Fashion Week 2013, the Kenzo founder chats about the growing importance of Asian couture in contemporary fashion

There is currently a growing, “never-before-seen movement for couture in Asia”, according to Kenzo Takada (as seen on the left). It’s a wave of change that the iconic fashion designer wishes to support, as the honorary president of the newly inaugurated Asian Couture Federation (ACF).

Kenzo also believes that Asian couture designers have the potential to become the “trend-setters” of the fashion industry — he feels that Asia’s rich cultural diversity, as well as the many traditional forms of craftsmanship of this region are fertile sources of inspiration for fashion designers.

In Singapore for Fashion Week 2013, the designer was spotted at the front row of the Japanese Couture showcase night on October 13, 2013.

“The beauty of Asian couture comes from the designers’ attention to detail and the skilful, traditional craftsmanship involved,” explains Kenzo, when we spoke to him through a Japanese translator at Fashion Week 2013.

“The challenge now, is to create fashion that is unique to Asia, while keeping it contemporary to its times,” says the fashion icon. “I hope that Asian couture will be recognised not only in Asia but in the world too, for its uniqueness.”

Despite being heralded as one of Japan’s fashion pioneers, Kenzo was actually “very surprised” when he was invited to take the role of ACF’s honorary president as he had “never done couture as a business”.

Nonetheless, he hopes to aid the development of Asian couture in whatever way that he can, fuelled by his love of “the creativity of fashion, whether it is expressed through haute couture or prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear collections)”.

(L-R): Felice Towako co-founders Akira and Towako Kimijima, fashion designer Kenzo Takada and ACF governor Yuki Sakaguchi at Fashion Week 2013