Junya Watanabe is the Japanese fashion designer, well known for his work relationship with Rei Kawakubo, the designer and owner of Comme des Garcons. After starting his own line of clothing under his name in 1992, Watanabe focused his attentions to technologically advanced and synthetic style fabrics and textiles for what is commonly known as techno couture design – the creation of uniquely designed clothing with modern materials.
Born in Fukushima, Japan in 1961, Junya Watanabe attended the Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, graduating in 1984 and starting his apprenticeship with Comme des Garcons as a patternmakter. He was promoted in 1987 to be Chief Designer of the Tricot knitwear line and later moved on to work on the Comme Des Garcons Homme line.
In 1992, he started work on a line of clothing under his own name within the Comme des Garcons collective and in 1993 launched his line of clothing under the name “Junya Watanabe Comme Des Garcons”, showing the line in Paris later that same year.
Junya Watanabe launched a men’s line in 2000 which has been widely acclaimed and Watanabe still continues to work prolifically, collaborating with many companies such as Nike, Levis and Fred Perry in addition to his parent company, Comme des Garcons.
Junya Watanabe’s design style is often compared to that of his mentor, Rei Kawakubo as it is both highly distinctive and technologically innovative. His Spring 2001 line is considered one of the more representative releases using technology as its basis. However, he has also utilized more traditional materials, such as the cotton used in the Spring 2003 collection.
Watanabe is well known as well for his use of finely tuned shape and tailoring in the style of his clothing. Known for deconstructing classic designs with juxtaposition, Watanabe will take apart things like white shirts or sweaters and then rebuild them with a single element into something entirely new and different. In particular, Watanabe’s line of men’s clothing has been repeatedly cited as a stand out amongst mostly classic and standard men’s collections.
Another common theme in Watanabe’s designs is the use fo a common theme or style within an unexpected frame, such as a finely cut track suit or the tweed-down vest. Many times, these crossovers will act as central focal points of a collection’s overall theme.
Junya Watanabe line clothing can be found in any of the number of locations that Comme des Garcons is sold, as well as through AnastasiaUSA, a major overseas distributor of the line.