As another cycle of fashion month moves forward at an increasingly intense pace, more and more young designers are fighting to make a difference to stand out in the extremely saturated industry that is fashion.
It is, however, the designers who are focusing on creating and producing clothing slowly and with the care that seems to be making the most significant impact in the industry. And Taiga Takahashi is one of them.
Hailing from Japan, the now New York-based designer moved to the United Kingdom when he was barely a teenager for art school. Yet, it was only after he pursued sculpture, just like his idol Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi, that he realised he wanted to get into fashion.
"I realised I wanted to create a functional product which would change people's everyday lives, and sculpture, unfortunately, given the period we're living in, wasn't right for me," he said.
And so, of course, he headed to London's Mecca of fashion, Central Saint Martins. After graduating in 2017, he then headed to work for Haider Ackermann and (Phoebe Philo's) Céline because he loved the way both designers can merge haute couture elements with more sartorial menswear details. Learning from the best of the minimalist scene and experiencing different cultural environments, from London to Paris to Antwerp, Takahashi moved to New York, with the big dream of opening his very own brand.
"Moving to New York had been my dream since I was a kid because I've always loved its incredible multiculturalism and diversity which continues to inspire me every day," he explained.
It is precisely this multicultural spirit that pushed him to pursue the idea of creating a community through the use of fashion, a common platform of furniture designers, artists, sculptors, painters. Building a creative extended family by engaging with them over discussions to gain new perspectives and help them achieve their dreams by giving them a space to do it.
It is within this mindset for collaboration that he decided to get in contact with Giulia Bortoli, the co-founder of the Milan based knitwear project Vitelli, and knitwear product specialist.
"Taiga contacted Studioe in July and we started to work on the knit pieces in September. The care for detail in every step and the significant research on yarns and stitches took a long time. Still, we're finally able to see the results now!" stated Bortoli about her collaboration with Takahashi. "Working with Taiga has been a pleasure, he is a great designer and you can feel his point of view perfectly, even if it's his first collection."
Together they were able to create a series of perfectly refined and balanced knits, everything 100% Made in Italy, km 0 by the hand of the best artisans near the town of Schio. Of note, a nude boat-neck lightly ribbed knit and a lilac turtleneck.
"I would define my aesthetic as timeless, as my aim is to create pieces that will be wearable even in the foreseeable future," he said. "Other than being sustainable, it is practical."
Undeniably his clean, minimal aesthetic and his use of colour are reminiscent of his previous employers' influences: from Ackermann's ability to balance fluid and angular lines with sophisticated tailoring and casual styling, to Phoebe Philo's purist lines and off-kilter femininity at Céline. And, for his Autumn-Winter 2020/21 collection, he decided to repurpose items we don't use anymore and will be lost in time if we don't give them different values and meanings. First up, Takahashi explored the use of money clips, sourced in fleamarkets and then used as golden hardware for coats, shirts and jackets.
"Noguchi found his own identity by bridging the gap between sculpture, furniture design and lamp design – I hope to do that in my own way in the fashion industry," he concluded.