A Guide To The Most Famous Japanese Fashion Designers

Issey Miyake apparel store
Issey Miyake apparel store | © Hani Arif/Flickr
Alicia Joy

Tokyo Writer

Japanese designers have a reputation for being on the cutting edge. These influential fashion designers have been shaping the fashion industry for decades now. Read on for a guide to the most famous Japanese designers and how they influenced the world.

Loved by over 40s

Rei Kawabuko

Kawabuko is known as the founder of the Comme des Garçons fashion house. Her edgy, counter-cultural looks challenge the normal standards of beauty in the fashion industry, earning her respect and admiration from around the globe. Kawabuko’s fashion career began in 1967 as a freelance stylist, and six years later she launched her company, Comme des Garçons Co. Ltd. In 1981, Kawabuko began presenting her work in Paris each season and opened up a boutique there the following year. Comme des Garçons has grown to include over ten unique lines of men’s and women’s fashion.

An entrance to a shop in New York City, in typical Comme des Garçons’s style

Yohji Yamamoto

Yamamoto’s will be a familiar name to those well-versed in the fashion industry. He incorporates traditional Japanese aesthetics with his expert tailoring skills, creating unique, inspiring pieces that fashionistas clamor after season after season. His main line, Y’s, is especially popular in his native town of Tokyo. When this line first launched in 1977, Yamamoto’s goal was to design men’s clothes for women. His avante-guarde approach was a hit. Yamamoto has been awarded numerous awards for his contributions to the fashion and artistic industries, such as the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) from France and the Master of Design Award from Fashion Group International.

Yohji Yamamoto in 2010, left

Issey Miyake

Miyake’s futuristic, technology-inspired designs have put his company on the map. He started his fashion house, then called Miyake Design Studio, in 1970. Miyake was always researching new ways to work with fabric, and his groundbreaking pleat designs were used for European ballet troupes in the late 1980s. He is also well-known as being the iconic producer of former Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck sweater, which the former Apple CEO wore every chance he got. Miyake retired from fashion design in 1997, but still claims to oversee the overall direction of the fashion lines produced by the House of Issey Miyake. His daughter, Limi Feu, is following in her father’s footsteps. She made her debut at Paris Fashion Week in 2007 to high praise and admiration by critics.

Issey Miyake apparel store

Junya Watanabe

Watanabe was once the design apprentice of Rei Kawabuko and her Comme des Garçons fashion house. After graduating from Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, he began his apprenticeship as a pattern maker before being promoted to designer for the Comme Des Garçons Homme line in the late 1980s. In 1992, he launched his own line with Comme Des Garçons under his name. Watanabe’s reputation for innovative, futuristic styles and designs earned him exclusive design partnerships with big brands like Converse and Levi’s, and earned him a place in the unofficial Fashion Hall of Fame.


Kenzo Takada

Takada is known as the director of the Kenzo brand, under which clothing, perfumes and skincare products are sold. Another graduate from Bunka Fashion College, Takada struggled in his early years of designing clothes. With limited resources, he purchased fabrics from flea markets and blended the incongruous colors and textures together to make one fine garment. In 1970, six years after settling in Paris, Takada’s designs finally started to get noticed. He presented his line on the catwalk for the first time and opened his first store. His work continued to grow in popularity. Soon, a men’s line would be added; later, perfumes and finally cosmetics. Takada retired from fashion in 1999, and the Kenzo brand is now owned and operated by third parties. His influence in the world of fashion, however, lives on.

Kenzo Takada
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.