Akira Isogawa. Dont be afraid of bad news.

running a creative business

the harvest: via ragtrader

In 2019 Akira Isogawa marked 25 years in the industry with an exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney Australia. Isogawa is known for his Kyoto meets Sydney designs.

In the lead up to the exhibition, ragtrader.com.au spoke to Isogawa about the success of his label and career, spanning more than two decades.

The designer shared how the longevity of his business is one of his greatest achievements to date. “One can come and one can go and it could happen very quickly. So actually having a solid business for more than two decades for me is actually a thing that I feel that I’m proud of.”

He attributes his lengthy time in the industry to his rejection of trend-driven designs and instead focusing on timeless pieces.

Isogawa built his label on a slower fashion concept as he believes that wearing something for only one season is too fast.

“I think we make sure our offering, there’s always styles which are timeless. We believe in slower fashion rather than faster fashion. I think we do not want to be driven by trends because otherwise we are prone to actually feel burnt out.  So, if you have to wear something actually just for one season and then something else for another season, I just find it actually that that cycle is too fast.”

Despite being successful for 25 years, Isogawa admits that there have been challenges over the years. His biggest being finding the balance between business and creativity

I think the challenge [is] always the commerce and creativity. Commerce versus creativity. You know, we cannot neglect either, so we always have to find a balance between the two.

“With my creative thoughts, I tend to go beyond reality. “I mean, it’s a great way to express something that, especially when you have a project such as a fashion show or one-off projects such as costume for theatre or ballet, you know, you can elaborate the design further but as a retailer as well, we’ve got to be a bit more chilled. “It is a mistake that I tend to make – I mean, I still make the mistake, [it’s] just a lesson that I need to learn.”

He advised designers to learn from their mistakes and be okay with bad news. “[Don’t be] afraid of bad news either. “People do make mistakes and if you do, then you’ve got to just realise actually that it’s [an] opportunity.  “Learn something from it and do not repeat it.”

His biggest tip for emerging designers though is to share their own style in a way that is unique from what is in the market.  I think the most important [thing] as a designer is to find your own signature style, in so that what you are offering is different from what’s already existing in the market.   You’ve got to have an individualistic point of view when it comes to fashion and then offer your style. You have to identify yourself as well – just your own style and that is a good start.  There’s no point offering something that is existing in the market.”

Image attribution Photo by Carly Earl sourced from The Guardian. Used under Fair Dealing terms [AU]

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