The Internet had changed our lifestyle, and we came to an era where retail stores have to find a new way of being,” says Tokujin Yoshioka, the designer behind Issey Miyake’s new Homme Plissé store in Tokyo.
That way of being has culminated in a state-of-the-art retail experience for Issey Miyake’s fashion empire. The label’s new store, taking up real estate in Tokyo’s Minami-Aoyama neighborhood, is intended to represent a physical representation of the Japanese essence of monozukuri no gemba, or “making things,” which is executed through the installation of one of the high-tech machines that creates some of the brand’s most recognizable designs. The workshop sits behind a glass wall where artisans create pieces exclusively on premise. The process, known as seihin pleats, involves cutting and sewing fabric to 1.5 times the final size, and then carefully feeding it through the specialized machines which resemble an industrial-sized printer. The limited-edition COLORS collection of pleated long-sleeve T-shirts will be available exclusively at the new boutique in ten different hues. The idea was Miyake’s own, to showcase this rarely seen piece of machinery that creates garments that have become the essence of the brand.
“Issey-san always tells me to create a shop that brings excitement to everyone,” said Yoshioka, whose Homme Plissé design marks the 17th time working with Miyake over the course of a few decades. “We always visit the site together and I develop the design from our talks.”
The stark concrete and floating matte-black steel clothing racks are meant to showcase the vibrancy of the collection and the innovation of the technique. Originally built in 1970, the first floor of the building in which Homme Plissé resides was home to three previous retail stores. Yoshioka didn’t “follow the concept of current interior design, where everything is made in perfection” but instead tore down walls and pared down the interior to let the clothing stand out in the space, while also showcasing the history of the structure. The pleating machine installed in the store was made in 1997 in a muddy greenish-gray. Yoshioka painted the machine a darker hue to match its new surroundings.
So if you find yourself in the Minami-Aoyama area, be sure to stop by between 2-3 p.m. on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday to witness the machine in action.