Hiroko Koshino is a Japanese fashion designer whose work grew to acclaim in the 1980s. Her style has often integrated Japanese culture and the combination of classic Japanese designs and Western culture in the modern Japanese fashion industry.
Koshino was born in 1937 in Osaka, Japan and eventually attended the Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, graduating in 1961 with her education in Fashion Design. Her first role as a designer was in the Komatsu Department Store in Tokyo as a designer. She started her own label, Hiroko Koshino haute-couture in 1964 and started producing textile products, children’s clothing and lingerie.
In 1982, Hiroko Koshino International was formed, spreading her products to overseas markets as the Japanese fashion industry started to take off. The Hiroko Koshino Design Office was formed in 1988, later starting to work with new branches including Hiroko Koshino Resort, Hiroko Koshino, Hiroko Bis, Hiroko Homme, and Hiroko Koshino Golf.
Hiroko Koshino’s first Paris show was in 1983, after the overall breakthrough of designers Rei Kawabuko and Issey Misake. By the middle of the 1990s, Koshino was generating more than $100 million each year in revenue throughout her businesses, selling in more than 200 stores throughout Japan.
Hiroko Koshino’s designs are known for their attempts to bridge the tension between traditional Japanese culture and values and the massive influence of Western aesthetics in the industry. While Western fashion has only permeated Japanese mainstream culture and industry since 1945, it has been dominate almost entirely since then and as she grew up in this atmosphere, Koshino has strived to overcome the duality of cultures in Japan by reintroducing classic forms such as the Kimono in new ways, making it viable for everyday wear and use.
Kimono patterns are traditionally very strict, requiring careful padding and measuring to keep the Kimono a certain size and width from the body, yet Koshino works to utilize these patterns while modernizing them, still engendering patterns of nature into her kimonos. Many of her garments utilize the same basic idea from traditional Japanese dress in which the more clothing someone wore, the more status they displayed. She oversteps tradition though by introducing more volume, a softer, more natural set of materials, and designs more asymmetrical than were seen in the past.
Her fabrics will often greatly contrast, including the use of things like fur and modern metallics in unison, and the wearability of her designs has made them popular throughout Europe and America as well as in Japan.