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Migh-T

Monday 30 April 2012
Words Spindle

Migh-T is the designer outlet through which CSM grad Kumiko Watari crafts the most intricate of patterns to tell the most wondrous stories. Living her life through pretty pictures Kumiko talks to Helen Turnbull about the power of individualism and the trend habits that differentiate her native home from her new base in London.

Your designs encompass all sorts of patterns, inspirations and concepts, do you find it restricting to limit yourself to one style of print?
Totally! I like mixing and matching the different patterns. I like to express the concept with the construction of the whole collection.

How would you sum up the migh-T house style?
I design clothes which have deep stories behind them. The people wearing these clothes are strong minded, curious people who enjoy being individual.

What is your all-time favourite migh-T piece?
It’s the carrot silk dress from SS12 “Ancient Wonders” collection. When my friend Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon wears it, she brings it to life. It has a magical feeling.

What drew you to study in London?
I wanted to study fashion textiles in a very artistic, but applied way. I got the offer from MA Fashion course at St. Martins and that brought me here.

In design terms, how do Japan and London differ? Do they share any similarities?
I think Japanese people tend to follow more trends in groups, whereas London people wear whatever as individuals. Both young peoples dare to try new styles. I want to bring this together more through my work.

What aspects of London and Japan do you incorporate into your designs?
I studied Japanese traditional textiles and crafts for more than 6 years before I came to London, so my heart is still there. I am very particular to every detail when I print and draw things. However, I guess it has incorporated a London style now as I have lived here for the last 7 years. The international nature of London has made my design more dynamic in terms of prints and shapes.

What sparked the transition from art installations to fashion design?
I was making art installations using textile techniques and materials before I came to London. I always wanted to show my ideas to more people and I thought making clothes with these textiles would attract more attention in daily life. Recently, I’ve been feeling that I want to begin making installations again to show my clothes and textiles.

More specifically.. prints, what made you pursue prints?
I like prints because it’s a quite a spontaneous and hands-on technique, but still has the legitimacy of repeating the same ideas and stories to express the concept. Also, I can’t give up colours…!

You pride yourself on telling stories through the fine art of your hand drawn prints, where do the story ideas come from?
They just come from the inspirations in everyday life. I’m not a good reader, so I make my own stories with the motifs I like. I think in pictures.

What do you hope to achieve with migh-T? Do you have any plans to extend the brand into other items of apparel?
I want to try more menswear and maybe kids wear. At the same time, I’m so keen to use my textiles for interior and home wares. Keep a look out!

Words: Helen Turnbull