Ritsuko Shirahama is a Japanese women’s clothing line based out of Tokyo, Japan. The line has long been well known for its ability to blend femininity with powerful designs, making it a popular brand in both Japan and overseas. Recent growth has allowed the brand to enter new markets in Europe and North America.
Ritsuko Shirahama was born in Tokyo in 1956 and studied English and American Literature at Seikei University. She made the decision to study design after graduation, moving to the Bandan Design Research Center and changing her focus. This new focus would later lead her to start working at Alpha Cubic Co. Ltd, where she would eventually become a top designer and an intriguing new perspective in the field.
In 1983, Shirahama joined Almond Eye and soon thereafter started her own fashion label under the name “Ritsuko Shirahama” in 1984. Working within the growing Japanese fashion industry of the 1980s that saw designers like Issey Misake and Rei Kawabuko become household names, Shirahama quickly became well known for her unique, powerful approach to women’s clothing and in 1996 started selling her designs internationally. Today, the Ritsuko Shirahama brand is sold in both the United States and Europe in boutiques she has partnered with. In 1999, her flagship store in Daikanyama, Tokyo was opened and remains a focal point of her company’s image.
The Ritsuko Shirahama label has become well known for its unique style and design and its ability to blend feminine tones with empowering designs. The dreamy images and unique combination of classic styles and modern forms such as the screen-t-shirt has made the Ritsuko Shirahama label stand out in the domestic and international communities. Since the label’s launch in 1984, it has closely followed both the evolution of European markets and that of Japanese fashion trends.
In the Spring/Summer collection of 2007, the Ristuko Shirahama collection introduced a unique collaboration with former Dutch supermodel Helena Christensen. The project took photographs of the supermodel that contained unique, often times provocative political undertones and placed them onto tank tops produced by Shirahama. The shirts were then displayed in both Shirahama’s Daikanyama store and the Ginza Barney’s of New York store.
Similar projects have been planned with other top world celebrities due to the success of the Christensen collaboration in both Japan and the international market.