Name: Junya Watanabe

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If you would like to learn more: Junya Watanabe(born in Fukushima, Japan in 1961) is a Japanese fashion designer, originally the protégé of Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo. Born in Fukushima, Japan in 1961, he went on to attend Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, graduating in 1984. At this time he began his apprenticeship at Comme des Garçons as a patternmaker. In 1987, he was promoted to chief designer of Tricot knitwear line and then moved on to design for the Comme Des Garçons Homme line. Starting in 1992, he has worked under his own name as part of Comme des Garçons. He started his own line under the Comme Des Garçons name called 'Junya Watanabe Comme Des Garçons' in 1993 and began showing in Paris that same year. Watanabe, like his mentor Rei Kawakubo, is renowned for designing innovative and distinctive clothing. He is particularly interested in synthetic and technologically advanced textiles and fabrics as found in his spring/summer 2001 line but also uses more traditional materials such as cotton in his spring/summer 2003 collection. Watanabe is often considered a "techno couture" designer, creating unusually structured clothes out of modern, technical materials. In 2007, Watanabe was licensed by Converse to design a series of All-Star shoes. Other collaborations involved Levi's, Hervier Productions, Seil Marschall, eYe, Nike, Merz b. Schwanen, The North Face etc. In March 2016, Watanabe created a solar-power jacket/coat for his FW16 menswear line “My idea of something being beautiful or aesthetically pleasing is completely different from what Rei Kawakubo’s vision of beauty is,” Watanabe allows. “To this day, seeing Rei Kawakubo’s work, I feel the same. I understand certain points and I can relate to certain areas ... That doesn’t mean that I completely agree. As a person-to-person relationship, I feel that I have a different idea, and I’ll always have a different vision of what is beautiful. Another reason, perhaps, I didn’t end up working right alongside Kawakubo is perhaps she felt that I had a different vision of my own. Maybe that’s why we parted, in terms of creating something that was different.” -Junya Watanabe

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