Hiroaki Ohya is the creator and name of the Tokyo, Japan based fashion label OHYA. His work has become well known around the world for its innovation and experimentation, often utilizing futuristic imagery and materials, influenced by everything Anime to Western film and literature. Largely seen as artistic works, Ohya’s designs are often not conceivably worn for every day purposes, but have become popular nonetheless for their artistic merit.
Born in in Kumamoto in 1970, Hiroaki Ohya attended and graduated from Bunka Fashion College in 1992 before being quickly recruited and employed by Issey Misake and the Miyake Design Studio. In 1996, he started his line of clothing under the name Ohya Design Zoo Co Ltd, presenting in the Paris Collection that same year.
His earliest and most famous outlandish project was the Astroboy by Ohya collection, launched in 1999, based on the Astroboy anime and done in collaboration with show’s production company, Tezuka Productions.
Another conceptual project produced in 1999 showed Ohya’s interest in creating artistic projects more so than functional clothing that people can purchase. His Ohya The Wizard of Jeanz collection was a series of 21 books that would transform into clothing when they were unfolded. The basis for the idea was in the American film, The Wizard of Oz, and only 20 editions of the collection were produced, with a selling price of $5000 each. The collection brought him both acclaim for his artistic merit and criticism for his lack of practical application.
In an interview later held in 2001, Ohya explained that he gained the inspiration for his Wizard of Jeanz collection from an old book he had found in a flea market. He noted that you could “see something from fifty years ago the way it was fifty years ago.” He went on to note that his own creations “vanish within half a year. Especially in Japan it is produce, throw away, produce, throw away.” He mentions that he “had the feeling that [he] was creating household garbage.” The Wizard of Jeanz collection was thus a commentary on how he saw the fashion industry, constructed of entirely fake, polyester materials and printed parts of the clothing.
Another of Ohya’s design concepts utilizes the ubiquitous Cup noodles that populate store shelves throughout Japan. He called this 2000 collection Cup Mode and it consisted of Fashion Magazines that had been crafted of cotton, which converted into jackets.