Issey Miyake, the revolutionary Japanese fashion designer known for combining modern and traditional fashion techniques, died on Friday.
Miyake was born in Hiroshima in 1938, and when he was only 7 years old, the city was devastated by an atomic bomb dropped by the US. His mother died of radiation exposure just a few years later, and he said later in his life that he was in favor of the total elimination of nuclear weapons in the world.
“I have tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to put [my memories of the explosion] behind me,” he said in a New York Times opinion piece in 2009, “preferring to think of things that can be created, not destroyed, and that bring beauty and joy.”
Miyake studied in Tokyo initially, then moved to Paris and New York to study and work in fashion design before moving back to Tokyo to open his own design studio. There, he developed innovative techniques for working with new materials and quickly built a name as an international pioneer.
His work, including clothing, bags and perfume, sold globally and was highly successful. He also reportedly made those signature turtlenecks for Steve Jobs, with Jobs reportedly saying, “He made me like a hundred of them … I have enough to last for the rest of my life.” Miyake won several awards throughout his life, including the Japanese Kyoto Prize in 2006 and the French Legion of Honor in 2016.
“I am most interested in people and the human form,” Miyake said in 2014. “Clothing is the closest thing to all humans.”