As one of the pioneers of Japanese avant-garde fashion, Issey Miyake is celebrated for creating clothes with greater resonance. The way he exaggerated proportions and played with fabrics showed how the sartorial can be an art form. It is that latter part of this equation that is the focus of “Khadi: Indian Craftsmanship,” a new exhibition held at the designer’s store in Tribeca, New York, where the impact of simplicity takes center stage.
Indeed, Miyake was a true revolutionary, but he wasn’t without a great support system. Makiko Minagawa, for one, was there from the very beginning, serving as the textile director of the Miyake Design Studio. She is now the creative director of HaaT, a line produced by Issey Miyake Inc. And like the eponymous designer, she experimented with new techniques that took fashion to new heights, especially in the creation of textiles. Minagawa is now considered a foremost authority on the subject, teaching at Tama Art University, and showcasing her work in museums, including the Museum of Modern Art.
With the aid of a translator, she vocalized this immense knowledge at a lecture that coincided with the opening of the exhibition. In particular, Minagawa waxed poetic about khadi, a handspun cotton fabric crafted on a spinning wheel called a charkha. The textile is heralded as the “fabric of freedom” in India, aiding with the nation’s independence from the British monarchy by promoting self-reliance and spurning of imported cloth. This rich history, along with its unique texture, enticed Minagawa to explore India and delve deep into how khadi is made. She became fascinated by its density, surface quality, and how it could dictate the silhouette of a given garment.
Rolls and rolls of white khadi drape the store, flowing around racks and mannequins wearing an assortment of style that Minagawa designed. Also on hand are number of charkhas and documents that she procured throughout her travels. The whole showcase is clear celebration of the fabric, and the way it reverberates in both Miyake and Minagawa’s forward-thinking designs.
“Khadi: Indian Craftsmanship” is help at the Issey Miyake store in Tribeca, New York from August 2 to August 22, 2019.