Eri Utsugi is the founder and lead designer of Japanese fashion label mercibeaucoup. The label, under the Issey Miyake A-Net company has become highly popular since its founding, presenting a wide array of quirky menswear and women’s clothing options.
Eri Utsugi was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1966 and attended the Apparel Design Course at Joshibi Junior College of Art and Design. She spent time in both Esmod Japon fashion design school and Studio Bercot in Paris, France and worked with multiple designers throughout her career. In 2001, she started at the company BIGI, where she worked for a time as the lead designer of the fashion brand Frapbois. Her big break came in 2005 though when she joined Issey Misake’s A-Net company and launched her own label, mercibeaucoup.
The label has grown tremendously since its launch, garnering enough international attention for her to sign distribution deals already in Europe and soon in North America.
Alternately described as quirky and cute, Utsugi’s designs are made up of a wide array of influences that combine the cuter, fun aspects of some Japanese fashion with a slightly more mature, almost indie perspective.
Many of her designs are taken from construction workers, as she herself admits, due to the comfortable appearance of their clothing. By adding a good deal of additional design and comfort to the look of those clothes, Eri is able to create an outfit that works both in form and function. Fantasy and reality often mix in her designs as well, as Utsugi mixes a wide array of traditional and technological styles and materials into her lines. Examples include the use of a one-piece jumpsuit made of green mat and orange hoods to evoke fairy tale characters. An additional line from Utsugi includes designs inspired by the peanuts comic strip as well.
While the idea of cosplay was once relegated for those inaffectionately dubbed Otaku, designers like Utsugi have reinvented the form in fashion, using the idea of anime and manga inspired designs as centerpieces in shows and new lines.
Including everything from massive, cotton candy style wigs to outlandish and overly colorful patterns and massive shoes, Utsugi’s clothing displays the same excess and colorful flambouyance that has made anime and manga cosplay such a big part of popular Japanese culture. Her purchaseable clothing, while not nearly as flamboyant or outrageous maintains the same basic tenets and strives to be multi colored and playful in as many ways as possible to maintain a rich tapestry of concepts and pop culture influences.
There are many mercibeaucoup shop locations located throughout Japan and more opening soon in Europe and New York. The flagship store can be located at: