From Feb 6 to 13, a pop-up named “Nipponista” was held in New York by Isetan Mitsukoshi. Designer Kansai Yamamoto attended the event and interviewed the young creators being featured. At the venue, a meeting on “Japanese designs” and “Cool Japan” was also held, among Mr. Yamamoto and the female buyers who planned the project.

“I was taken back and pleasantly surprised by what the young creators had to offer. Japanese design has progressed, and the designs created by the young generation are amazing. I feel that there is a problem with communicating these charms to the rest of the world. There needs to be more focus on improving PR. I felt very energized after looking at each of the exhibitor’s works,” said Mr. Yamamoto.

Last year, Mr. Yamamoto returned to the fashion world as designer for the first time in 42 years. For the Nipponista event, he communicated with each of the young designers to understand the concepts behind the creations.

“The designs can change sizes, which mean they can be worn by men or women,” said Mr. Yamamoto after hearing designer Kunihiko Morinaga of Anrealage talk about the concept for his 2014 SS Collection based on clothes which change sizes when dials are turned. The idea of using the reaction of photochromic to sunlight in order to change the colors of the designs was referred to as “scientific.”

Designer Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta used a tablet device to introduce her archive collections to Mr. Yamamoto. His feedback was, “Paco Rabanne would be taken away with her use of materials. The body wear being showcased at Nipponista is something that Hollywood actresses would adore. She is very unique as a designer.”

With regards to FACETASM’s presentation centered on black and white items for women, Mr. Yamamoto commented, “It’s such a fine idea.” When seeing an embroidered stadium jumper and leather jacket for men, Mr. Yamamoto asked the designer why these items were not being introduced. Hiromichi Ochiai’s response was that the exhibit was limited to women’s items only. To this, Mr. Yamamoto replied, “Are men’s and women’s items that different for you?”

When seeing designer Nao Yagi of mintdesigns wearing a blue coat, Mr. Yamamoto said, “The designer looks best in her clothes from her own brand. I like the brand’s use of textiles. I would probably introduce goldfish prints to a lining where the brand would use a simple brown one.” He asked Yagi about how she divides up her roles as designer with her partner Hokuto Katsui. Designers working as duos are increasing nowadays.

“The Japanese fashion scene is completely different to how it was 40 years ago when I ventured to do business overseas. Back then, we didn’t care about what people thought, we just designed what we wanted. Today, designers are modest and earnest yet pursuing their own uniqueness. I’m still in awe of the high quality,” added Mr. Yamamoto.