“For something to be beautiful…it doesn’t have to be pretty,” – Rei Kawukubo
In searching for different designers to profile for this post, I kept coming back to Comme des Garcons. Maybe it was the latest Met Gala exhibition, or those adorable heart-eyed pocket tees I keep looking at online – for whatever the reason, I figured that this avant-garde brand deserved to be the focus.
Let’s start with the basics, Comme des Garcons (abbreviated as CdG) was founded by Rei Kawukubo in 1969. The name of the brand is translated to “like boys” in French. While there are over 200 CdG stores worldwide today, it started with humble beginnings in Tokyo. Kawukubo’s background includes costume design and her art background is extremely noticeable. CdG aims to challenge traditional views of silhouette and functionality with its collections.
When you first view some of these designs, they look rather bizarre. And as strange as it sounds, that’s the goal. These clothes are meant to make you think and question fashion design.
“My intention is not to make clothes. My head would be too restricted if I only thought about making clothes,” – Rei Kawukubo
CdG does have a “casual luxury” line called Comme des Garcons Play. Play has been famously worn by celebrities such as Kanye West, Diane Kruger and Kendrick Lamar. It is distinctly known for the signature “heart-eyes” logo – almost like an emoji before emojis were a thing.
“Fashion is something that you can attach to yourself, put on, and through that interaction, the meaning of it is born.” – Rei Kawukubo
Though CdG has become known for its artistic designs, it is also renowned for its craftsmanship. All of the pieces are designed and produced in CdG’s Japanese offices, and most impressively, the items are handcrafted by the fashion house’s artisans. Kawukubo has long been a proponent of quality in fashion. Her brand’s expensive prices are reflective of the longevity expected of a CdG product – even the Play line is expected is last years and years.
While CdG may not be your traditional fashion brand, hopefully you can appreciate the artistic vision that its designer has brought forth for decades. In studying the history and designs of CdG, just remember… we’re not meant to understand it. We’re just meant to reflect on it – and if we’re lucky, the objectives just might stick with us for the future.