Fashion Designer: Akira Isogawa

Akira Isogawa is one of Australia’s most celebrated designers. Born in Kyoto Japan, Akira moved to Australia in 1986 where he studied fashion design at the Sydney Institute of Technology, drawing inspiration from contemporary Japanese design. He has achieved international recognition for his exquisite designs, which are sought after in every major fashion capital throughout the world.

When did you first decide to get into fashion design?
When I came to Australia, I was 21 Years old. After staying in Sydney for a month I realised I wanted to live in Sydney and study fashion.

How has your work evolved over the last 10 years?
My work is always evolving, it’s the nature of fashion. So when I look back at what I’ve done 10 years ago, and then I see what I’m doing now in terms of direction or making an assessment of particular aesthetics which I create, it’s quite different. The textiles itself, the fabric I use seems to be far more complex. It’s treated more heavily, Dying, Printing, embroideries or even hand painting. Whereas when I started I would buy fabrics and then start designing whereas now I am much more involved in the designing of textiles, also as well designing a shape, the shape is more complicated. It’s the nature of my personality as well, I try to find a challenge.  When I complete one collection and move onto another, I’ll look for something more challenging than the one I’ve done previously.

What inspires your designs?
Lots of things, books or traveling, meeting people in foreign countries. DVDs, movies.

Have you designed outside of the fashion industry?
I have designed a collection of designer rugs for another company, hand woven rugs. At the moment I’m in talks to design a shape for eyewear. It’s quite interesting because I’m not dealing with any woven textiles or knitted textiles we are dealing with a hard edge, like glass, perplex or acrylic. Very different from textiles so I do find it quite fascinating.

Do you plan to be based in Australia for the foreseeable future?
Yes definitely, I see my self based in Australia. I am very lucky to be able to travel overseas quite regulary.

What has been your greatest fashion moment?
Opening a shop is a really amazing experience, which was 15 years ago. My own flagship store in Woollahra, that was a really big deal for me. My first parade in Fashion week in Sydney, also my first parade in Paris, always a first time was a great moment. Receiving an award; most recently Australian Laureate fashion award, which I received last year was a great honor. Being on a stamp a few years ago, that was an amazing experience to see myself on an Australian stamp, I never thought it would happen when I first came to Australia. So there are quite a few moments.

Any advice to an up and coming Fashion designer?
I think I learnt a really hard way, I never worked for a fashion company full time I just started my own label when I graduated. So I learnt by making mistakes , a lot of money is involved when you make mistakes, you lose money. So I think the advice I can give someone starting their own label or business is there’s no point to feel when you make a mistake or lose money that you’re not good enough any more, learn from your mistakes and when you lose money you believe that you can make more. Money is a currency, so the nature of currency is it moves around so not to worry, keep motivated and keep going.


  1. [...] Read the exclusive interview with Akira Isogawa at Australian Edge [...]

    Fashion Designer: Akira Isogawa |, November 11th, 2008 at 10:02 pm
  2. [...] Read the exclusive interview with Akira Isogawa at Australian Edge [...]

    Akira Isogawa, December 2nd, 2008 at 2:00 pm
  3. [...] Entries will be judged by a panel of international and Australian experts of traditional and contemporary disciplines of lace, fashion, design and architecture, including lace practitioner and historian Rosemary Shepherd and fashion designer Akira Isogawa. [...]

    The Powerhouse Museum International Lace Award | Australian Edge, December 21st, 2009 at 4:47 pm

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