After dedicating eight years of her career to working alongside Junya Watanabe on his Comme des Garçons collection, Chitose Abe launched her own independent fashion label, Sacai, in 1999.
Designers will never deny the value they put on beauty. However, what distinguishes them from one another is how they interpret beauty, and how this interpretation materializes into the clothing that they create. It hardly even takes a quick glance to instantly recognize that Abe’s designs are a testament to the imaginative use of fabrics and shapes. When asked what her aim is as a designer, Abe responds “The whole idea is to create a different sense of volume and shape by juxtaposing these different [fabric] patterns and ideas.”
Sacai collections consistently offer a new perspective on traditional design with intricate layering of fabrics and signature tailor cuts. A few notable pieces from her current and past collections were designed so that the front is shockingly dissimilar to the back, as if Abe is giving women the opportunity to wear two outfits at once.
Abe’s technique of endowing pieces with double personalities is met with her insistence that fashion design can only reach its height if people enjoy wearing the clothes. By classifying enjoyment as comfort, feel, and detail, Abe instils a firm understanding of function into her designs. “I think that approach of designing from the inside out ultimately comes from the fact that I believe that clothing is not art, but something that is meant to be enjoyed by wearing it. That’s why I pay attention to the inside of the garment.” Needless to say, what Sacai aficionados grow to covet are not only the pieces that embody the brilliant use of fabric and duality, but the pure enjoyment of wearing them.