Watch: The Creative Processes Of 3 Top Japanese Fashion Designers

In short documentaries, Todd Selby reveals the daily goings on of some of Japan’s foremost fashion designers.

In March, photographer and writer Todd Selby released his third book, The Fashionable Selby, which documents today’s most creative minds in their work environments.


During the three years he worked on the book, Selby met a cast of characters that he thought would make excellent subjects for short documentaries of approximately one day in each of their lives. Here are three. They are Japanese fashion designers Yuima Nakazato, Blackmeans, and Writtenafterwards.

“I chose people who were not shy in front of the camera and who have a really unique perspective and style–while also making sure they had an in-depth layered story to tell,” Selby says. “What I took away from these subjects is that there are so many different ways to work if you are creative and that there really is no right or wrong way. What’s ultimately the most important thing is to have a passion–and if you follow that passion, everything else will follow.”


Decked out in feather earrings and studs galore, Yujiro Komatsu, owner and designer at punky leather design collective Blackmeans, describes his love of DIY and the state of fashion design in Japan. “A large number of Japanese traditions, including the clothing industry, just shut down when we lost the war,” he says. “Especially the leather business. ‘Real leather comes from the U.S. or Italy,’ that’s how many Japanese thought. But leather has always been deeply rooted in traditional Japanese manufacturing.”


“Since my childhood, people around me said I’m not normal,” says Writtenafterwards, also known as Yoshikazu Yamagata, laughing. The kooky designer interned with John Galliano in 2004, then launched his own label in 2007. His most famous design to date might be The Big Bra–lingerie roughly the size of a bus. Here, we see him create a character he calls “The Princess of the Universe,” for whom he builds a space shuttle to search the heavens for new fabric.

Yuima Nakazato

Twenty-eight-year-old Nakazato’s designs, often called “cyber-couture,” are beloved by the likes of Lady Gaga and incorporate 3-D printing. Here, we meet his father, a sculptor, and his mother, a jewelry maker; both work mainly with materials from nature.


About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.