Japanese fashion designer Junya Watanabe, undertook apprenticeship at Comme des Garçons as a pattern-maker. In 1987, he was promoted to chief designer of Tricot knitwear line and then moved on to design for Comme Des Garçons Homme. Circa 1992, he began worked under his own name as part of Comme des Garçons.
Born and raised in Fukushima, Japan, Junya Watanabe attended Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, graduating in 1984. Shortly, he undertook apprenticeship at Comme des Garçons as a pattern-maker, and was soon promoted to chief designer of Tricot knitwear line and then began designing for Comme Des Garçons Homme. In 1992, Rei Kawakubo offered him a priceless opportunity to design his own collection under the Comme des Garçons umbrella and he showed his first womenswear collection at the concourse of Tokyo’s Ryogoku Station. Titled “Function and Practicality”, it showcased reversible pieces with the runway models stopping mid-runway to undress and invert the garments, with a simulated rain cloud overhead proving the collection to be waterproof. Genius!
The Japanese fashion designer experiments with cutting-edge fabrics and inventive tailoring and draping. His design aesthetic involves exploring a single motif each season, deconstructing and then reconstructing a single concept. Watanabe began showing womenswear in Paris in 1992 and debuted a men’s line in 2001. During Fall Winter 2000-01, he introduced his ‘Techno-culture’ collection, a mélange of artisanal shapes and creative, experimental fabrics. In 2007, Watanabe was licensed by Converse to produce limited edition Converse Chuck Taylors. Priced at around $84, the shoes were available at high-end global retailers including Barney’s, Colletee and Comme des Garcons, Dover Street Market. Other collaborations include Levi’s, Hervier Productions, Seil Marschall, Carhartt, Nike, Merz b. Schwanen, The North Face, ArkAir etc. In 2012, Watanabe designed the remote-control toy car The Hornet for the Tamiya Corporation and released a coordinated pair of Reebok Pump.
In March 2016, Watanabe created solar-powered men’s outerwear. In 2020, he launched a capsule collection with Brooks Brothers. He also worked with Comme des Garçons and the video game designer Yoko Taro to develop a cosplay collection. Today, he continues to work for Comme des Garcons and his atelier is located on the second floor of the Comme des Garçons headquarters in Aoyama, Tokyo.
To create something very different from other designers
Womenswear, menswear, accessories