"Celebrity from New York"
Parfait@Interview@ February 17, 2002
-Born in an old family in Kyoto, HigashiyamacI always liked to paint-
"I was born in an old family in Kyoto, Higashiyama. It is said that Osaka is for gourmet and Kyoto is for high fashion. I had liked to dress up since I was little."
She is a painter originally. Since she was young, whatever painting she drew received any kinds of prizes. She had never thought about drawing nicely or for aiming the prizes. "I was just painting what I want to paint naturally." Therefore, even though her paintings receive praises by people, she laughs, "I really do not consider myself as an painter."
-To the world to pursue art for passion-
She went to Doshisha University majoring English literature. After college, she worked for Suntory as a wine advisor. During the periods, she had been thinking that she wanted to find the thing that she could do for rest of her life. At that time, she went to New York to visit her friend. She waited her friend in front of an art school. "I just curiously went in the building. Then I had encountered with the painting that gives me a strong impression there. I thought that this was the one that I should pursue for rest of my life. I decided to go to this school." The stable work in Japan was not the one to fulfill her life but the art was the one. This explains well what she is and who she is. I have the feeling that how she builds her life is somehow dynamic and is not restricted in an ordinary life.
After graduating from New York School of Visual Arts, she went to International Academy in Australia with Rotary scholarship and went to Austria with the scholarship provided from International Art Summer Academy. In Austria, she learned under a German artist Jan Voss. During her study, she held many art exhibitions in Japan, New York, Germany, and Austria. "What I paint is totally with my own unique way. I paint what I want to paint with the way I want. I still do not understand why I receive praises to my paintings. I could not find the art that I liked. That is why I paint what I want."
-Unexpected Encounter with FIT-
She presented the clothing that she created at China collection this year (2002). How did she shift her career as a painter to a fashion designer? "When I was waking down the street of New York, I saw FIT. I knew it is a school of fashion but nothing more. I just had a little bit of curiosity and went in, then I asked "Can you teach me how to sew?"
Fashion Institute of Technology is the most famous and prestigious fashion designing school where are produced Calvin Klein, Norma Kamali, and famous fashion designers. "On that day, what I wore was the clothing that I designed. One of the teachers in the school were fond of the piece and told me to draw a design on the spot." Although she had never drawn costume design drawing, she was a painter. Soon after looking at her drawing, the teacher said, "Day time class or night class?" She answered "Daytime." Then the teacher took her to the classroom. "I had never thought that that was the day of my entering to the school. I thought that it was just a basic sewing class, but later on, I discovered that it was a very difficult advanced fashion class."
-Represent of the USA for the China Collection-
However, the fashion grabbed her heart. "I had a mount of things that I wanted to learn because it was such an unknown field for me. Taking advantage of the various courses in the school, I took courses, such as leather crafting, accessory, and hat creation. My interests and the possibility of expression were expanded dramatically. It was very enjoyable to obtain knowledge and possibilities even though I had to give up my sleep. Fortunately, I was recognized with many prizes and maintained good scores. As a result, I received a scholarship from the school. America gives people who work hard a chance equally."
There are more than 2000 students in FIT. One day, the dean of the school said, "You were selected this competition. Do you have passion and confidence to do it?" It was a China collection. She started to prepare for the show with the given theme. Her design passed the screening and she became a representative of the United States.
Her assistant for the show talks about a big attraction of her. "She is not the person who impose her way to other people but she has a power to let other people to work for her naturally. By touching her passion to work, I felt like doing something for her. It was fun to be around because she was enthusiastically motivated and positive. Once she decided to do something, she never gave up and makes the things realize with all of her ability and ideas. That was her policy of life. Extremely speaking, she is the person who generates a hundred percent of energy to do what she wants to do today, at this moment, because nobody knows what will happen the next day."
-She hates to copy others. The journey of discovery herself.-
I asked her which one is your occupation, a fashion designer or a painter. "Neither one. The thing for me is whether the art that I created belongs to which category. I don't have an intention to be something but it is important for me to be myself. It's not what I want to be but how I live. I want to keep energy to question myself how I want to be and what I want to do at this moment. I hate copying. Say, I like the difference from other people. I never rely on copying somebody, and I attract the way of life with self. I locate myself in a freedom in order to realize that. I want to consider myself as an individual who does not judge and not be judged, and who do not obsess and not to be obsessed. I want to continue looking for myself."
It seems to be the case that she grabbed chances to open up her opportunities. How come she never missed the chances? Why does the chance fall on to her? "I never look for the chance. Therefore, I never get nervous about it. I had never though myself to be a painter. The fact is that I love painting. What I do is to pursue what I want to do. It's very simple. But what I want to do is always contained three elements, "Beautiful", "Enjoyable", and "Delicious." She laughed.
How does she view the city of New York? "People express what they think or feel precisely and clearly. They live their life straightforward. Sometime it makes me furious because of their selfishness. But on the other hand, people in Japan care about others too much to lose themselves. They avoid fighting to obstacles. The good thing about America is to value good things with fairness. If people judge things its good the time they see, they give credits without background, past experiences or etc. That's the power that the city has. That's why this is the place where I can be myself and express myself honestly."
I had an impression that she has humaneness and honesty given from her background. In the same time, I also felt the confidence in herself and express it appropriately.
-Let life flow and do my best-
After graduating FIT in May 2002, she is currently tackling with the hat designing for a musical play. "It was a surprising offer, but it also was a good start for me, because I was thinking that I wanted to challenge to the movie or stage costume designing." Or "I also work on designing for a textile artist. With the offer, I fell in love with the greatness of real and natural fabric, which are cared gently in the creation process. From now on, people will select and wear what's good for them."
She concluded, "For me, the life is so unknown. Without competing with others, I want to let my life flow. Fashion is a new genre of art and one of culture. I don't divide art and fashion but I consider both as the same way of my expression. I want to do my best to achieve to the beauty. More than building wealth, I have great treasures that are people that I met through art and friends whom I had a great help and support from."