Who was Issey Miyake? Japanese Fashion Designer Dies at 84

Renowned Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake has died at the age of 84. He passed away on August 5 after battling cancer. Miyake’s company revealed that a funeral service has already been held with his family and close friends.

As per the designer’s wishes, a memorial service will not be organized. Miyake was a part of a group of young Japanese designers who made their mark in the Paris fashion industry in the mid-1970s. Read on to know more about the designer’s life and career.



Miyake Created a Global Fashion Brand

Miyake was famous for his innovative styles and perfumes. He worked with both traditional and modern fashion techniques during his long career. He moved to Paris in the 1960s and worked with fashion designers Guy Laroche and Hubert de Givenchy.

Issey went back to Tokyo in 1970 to open the Miyake Design Studio. By the 1980s, he was considered one of the world’s most pioneering designers. He made designs from different materials such as plastic, metal, traditional Japanese material and paper.


Miyake created a style that was high-tech yet practical and comfortable. It soon became a household name in the global market. His fashion house created highly sought-after clothes for men and women, as well as accessories such as bags, watches and perfumes.

Some of his most notable works included the Bao Bao line of bags, recognizable for their small resin triangles; the A-POC clothing line, which is now kept in museums; and the perfume L’Eau d’Issey, a bottle of which was rumored to be sold every 14 seconds.


The Designer was born in Hiroshima in 1938

Miyake was born in Hiroshima in 1938. He was only seven years old when the city was stuck by an atomic bomb in August 1945. He survived the blast, but his mother died of radiation exposure three years later.

He talked about his experience in an opinion piece in New York Times in 2009. He wrote, “When I close my eyes, I still see things no one should ever experience.” He further said that he prefers to think of things “that can be created, not destroyed, and that bring beauty and joy.” Miyake did not talk about his traumatic childhood for a long time since he did not want to be known as “the designer who survived the atomic bomb.”

When he was young, he wanted to be a dancer or athlete; however, he developed an interest in fashion after reading his sister’s fashion magazines. To pursue his interest, Miyake went on to study graphic design at a Tokyo art university.

Miyake Designed Steve Jobs’ Black Mock Turtleneck

Miyake is known for creating fashion statements that forever changed the way people dressed. He designed the iconic turtle neck jumpers for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He reportedly made 100 of them at $175 each.

Issey was awarded the Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture in 2005. In 2006, he went on to win the Kyoto Prize for his contribution to arts and received the Order of Culture in 2010 for ‘remarkable accomplishments’ in Japan’s culture and arts.

Miyake will surely be missed for his iconic designs. His legacy will continue through his brands.

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