Hi! Fashion to exhibit at the National Craft Gallery this autumn

Posted 16.06.17

Hi! Fashion, a dialogue between Ireland and Japan, to exhibit at the National Craft Gallery this autumn

l to r: designs by Derek Lawlor; Kansai Yamamoto; Maiko Takedo; and Writtenafterwards

Hi! Fashion, an exhibition exploring garments from Japan and Ireland, will open at the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, on Saturday, 12 August 2017. Curated by Gemma A. Williams, this new exhibition will present womenswear and accessories that explore the visual correlations and contrasts between designers on the two islands.

In a global sense, designers from Japan and Ireland share certain commonalities, including the need to continually migrate to fashion cities like Paris and London; the Japanese revolution of the 1980s took place in Paris while designers from Ireland frequently use London as a base. Moreover, the cyclical nature of the fashion industry means that they can often share materials, techniques, and inspirations, making it a truly global exchange.

Celebrating 60 years of sartorial history, Hi! Fashion will feature Japanese and Irish fashion side by side, creating a visual essay composed of juxtaposing garments. These tableaux will reveal unspoken dialogues, creating new conversations inspired by the contrasting, cyclical and disruptive nature of the design process.

The exhibition will showcase garments from across these decades, starting with Irish designer Sybil Connolly, who launched her couture line in 1957. The work of other significant and internationally renowned Irish designers will include: John Rocha, recognised as one of Ireland’s leading designers; Lainey Keogh who changed the face of Irish knitwear; rising international star Richard Malone; and Úna Burke whose designs have been worn by Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Daphne Guinness. Influential Japanese designers will include: Kansai Yamamoto, designer of David Bowie’s costumes during the 1970s; milliner Maiko Takeda, favoured by the singer Björk; and visionaries such as Issey Miyake together with innovative contemporary makers like Anrealage and Noritaka Tatehana. Garments have been sourced globally from museum collections, designer archives and collectors as well as newly created pieces.

Gemma A. Williams commented: “Bringing these two islands together, this exhibition illustrates not only the global language of fashion but also reveals how it is underpinned by the fusion of concept and craft which is distilled by the intimate nature of individual approach and process. As a curator, I love the idea of experimenting with context and environment to create a new, abstract narrative from fashion’s forms.’ 

Curated by Williams and designed in collaboration with ROJI, Hi! Fashion is presented as part of the programme for the Kilkenny Arts Festival (11 – 20 August 2017) and runs until 12 November. It is also an official event in the celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Ireland, and supported by the Japan Foundation.

Japanese designers: Irish designers:
Anrealage Aideen Gaynor
Issey Miyake Danielle Romeril
Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garçons Derek Lawlor
Kansai Yamamoto John Rocha
Kenta Nishimura Lainey Keogh
Maiko Takeda Laoise Carey
Noritaka Tatehana Michael Stewart
Writtenafterwards Richard Malone
Yohji Yamamoto Sybil Connolly
  Úna Burke


About the Curator
Gemma A. Williams is an Irish-born fashion curator and writer living in London. A graduate of London College of Fashion, Williams has worked for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British Council, the Modemuseum, Antwerp and Irish Design 2015. Her practice focuses on global emerging markets and fashion tourism. In 2015, she authored Fashion China, an illustrated look at China’s contemporary fashion scene, published by Thames & Hudson. She contributes to Business of Fashion, Now Fashion, Jing Daily and Vogue Italia as well as consults to Shanghai Fashion Week. www.fashionnarratives.com @Gemmacurates

About the Exhibition Designer
Steven McNamara is the founder of award-winning studio, ROJI. He is interested in creating experiences that engage people and promoting good design. Since representing Ireland at World Design Capital Helsinki in 2012, he has continued to showcase the best of Irish design by curating and designing exhibitions to critical acclaim from Wallpaper* Magazine, The New York Times and CNN Style. Steven was awarded Exhibition Design of the Year in 2016 and 2015, and Graduate Designer of the Year in 2014 by the Institute of Designers of Ireland. www.roji.ie

About the National Craft Gallery
Established by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland in 2000, the National Craft Gallery is Ireland’s leading centre for contemporary craft and design. It exhibits Irish and international designers, artists and makers who push boundaries in their engagement with the making process. Its mission is to inspire appreciation, creativity and innovation, and it plays a critical role in building understanding of craft and material culture in Ireland. www.nationalcraftgallery.ie

About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,200 registered clients. www.dccoi.ie  

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