Photography / Editorial / Print

As featured in Unfolded Magazine Issue 09

Yuichi Ozaki is a graduate from a Fashion University in Japan and started designing five years ago as a student. He won a competition in Japan two years ago, and the competition's association brought him to Nottingham Trent University on a scholarship.  He is interested in how people develop and approach fashion design and the differences between European and Japanese fashion.

He believes "fashion has a lot of possibility, such as it might change people's lives, it might change the age, it might bring happiness into people's lives" so in a way he seeks to take that idea of change and incorporate it into his designs, we see this in the revealed origami shapes incorporated into the pieces when unzipped, highlighting the influences from Japanese culture. 

Inspired by trick art such as M. C. Esher, Yuichi's theme started exploring 2D and 3D forms and he found some street art and pictures that are like Escher's. "At the beginning, I thought I can express this world through print, but it is not as interesting and finally, I got an answer that is folded origami, and my collection could be expressed through folded stripe print and pop-up systems. Before I made origami things using fabrics I made 200 to 300 paper samples and decided upon exactly what shapes to use, eventually laser cutting fabrics to make the desired effect".

His designs have led to Yuichi winning the BILBAO International Art & Fashion competition, an award which he says has an important meaning in his life because "Bilbao is a city is focusing on art nowadays.  I am honoured to get this prize and it is a great confidence boost" His winning outfit used a range of materials - including wool, felt, printed cotton, velvet, and engraved leather – to create an illusion of folding stripes, silhouettes and a three-dimensional effect with a zip. As models unzipped or unbuttoned their jackets a whole new art work took form. The vertical stripes at the front of the cape jacket can be seen in a different way when viewed from the side - as if they are refracting.

On personal style and methodology, Yuichi says "I cannot impress others with things I am not impressed by myself. My creation should satisfy my goals and appeal to the viewer's five senses so I do not want to compromise on any of my creations.  Also, I question what seems to be taken for granted. Without knowing it, we have a certain way of thinking about how things should be. However, fashion has explored a new way, breaking the common sense and conventions such as age, sex, and social class. Without fearing change, I would like to create a new world. I feel the future there."

Of the future, Yuichi would like to stay Europe, gain more experience and try to improve his English. However, with finance and Visa issues aside, the main concern is finding a job or good opportunity to make his dream of running his own fashion label a reality.

Interview by Nardip Singh

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