"My dream since childhood was to become an architect." The ambitious boy that Takahashi was, he encountered another love in the 3rd grade of junior high school; fashion. He recalls spending pocket money on going shopping for clothes with "fashionable friends" in his adolescence which coincided with the "Urahara" (literally "back of Harajuku", referring to the back streets of the Harajuku district where many fashionable shops and boutiques were located) boom. Although Takahashi was keen to step further into the Urahara alleys that were introduced in men’s fashion magazines, he soon saw that he was somewhat alone in his enthusiasm.

"It was then that I realized I was apparently more intrigued with fashion than the average person." His passion lead to such meticulousness as sanding, dyeing and working of shop-bought jeans that were already damage processed. Under the influence of the leather footwear boom lead by John Lobb and other brands, Takahashi’s love stretched beyond clothes to leather goods and culminated in an interest in leather craftwork. Such fondness for all things handmade no doubt formed a backdrop for the unseen dream of becoming a fashion designer that had perhaps, by then, begun to bud within him.

It would however take several more major steps for the fashion-smitten youth to turn his obsession into a lifetime career, steps consisting of encounters, experience and time. In 2nd grade of high school the time came for Takahashi to start thinking about his future career options. At this point architecture was still a possibility, yet he chose to distance himself from the college entry battlefield and advanced to college through recommendation. There he was able to take a variety of 10 classes ranging from art to design- oil paintings, sculptures, product, interior, textiles and more. This period in Takahashi’s life played a significant role not only in satisfying his eager curiosity but also in broadening his perspective.

Takahashi chose textile design as his major in 2nd year of college. As he puts it, "I was visiting a sewing boutique to study shirt tailoring. And there I was told, "The next era will be one of textiles." We can only speculate as to the reasoning behind the tailor’s prophecy but it was quite accurate. Yet even as he started his major, Takahashi "still maintained an interest in interior design. I thought that maybe I might be able to specialize in both." As such, the nature of youth is the myriad of possibilities it encompasses. It would still be some time before Takahashi committed his path to one of fashion design.

"I was taking classes in artistic theory and discovering contemporary art, getting particularly absorbed in minimal and conceptual art." It was around this time that Takahashi became interested in the Paris Fashion Week and later a fan of Hussein Chalayan- the creations of which he was a "self-confessed expert." Eventually one of his mentors suggested to him a college that might be perfect for him, and in his 2nd year Takahashi took advantage of his school’s international education program to enroll in a course at a London college with textile courses within its curriculum.

To be continued into 3/4.