Kumiko Watari‘s newest collection, Ancient Wonders, is a collision of Egypt-inspired pattern motifs, disproportionate fabric cuts and surrealist drawings. Wonderland caught up with the Osaka-born Saint Martins graduate to talk fine art, aliens and Might-T, her label-name.
When did you establish Migh-T and why did you decide to brand your design projects this way?
I started Migh-T in 2008 after graduating from the Central Saint Martins MA Fashion course. A friend of mine was working in a shop in London at that time and she introduced me to the owners when she saw my final collection. They suggested selling my collection in their shop. It started naturally like that. My background is in traditional Japanese textile techniques and textile fine art. I always wanted to do something interesting and appeal to people more directly than fine art, and decided to work in fashion.
Explain if you will the strange use of patterns in your SS12 collection. What are you referring to with its title, Ancient Wonders?
I like seeing very old objects which carry a lot of curiosity. It is so mysterious looking at ancient pyramids, Nazca lines, Stone Henge and so on. There is not a clear explanation why and how people made these things and it’s beyond the imagination. It always leads us to think of outer space lives; aliens.
What are the strongest pieces of it, do you feel? Is there anything you’re slightly disappointed with?
People really like the carrot dress, which has two cross-stitched carrots on the chest and the silk dress bit is kind of a thunder light print. The carrot half is exposed and the other half is underground which is in another world. It would have been better if I had made some accessories to go with it.
Name the five heroes who have inspired your style the most.
Keisuke Serizawa, Pablo Picasso, Yukimi Nagano, Louise Wilson and Fleet Bigwood.
How heavily does travel and site-seeing inform your work?
I like traveling. It is easy to find anything on the internet nowadays, however, it’s still very important to go places and see. Most of the time, I get inspiration from unnamed objects made by anonymous artists in tiny local museum – these are kind of things you don’t really encounter on the internet.
Describe your typical creative process.
My work is based on stories I create. I often think about some motif and the story surrounding it. I design the prints based on this story. One idea leads the next idea. The shapes of the clothes are very simple, but the balance is very important.
All photos by Matilde Travassos
Words: Jack Mills