Sunao Kuwahara (スナオクワハラ) is a popular Japanese fashion designer and also the name of a fashion brand created by the designer himself. The name of the clothing brand is usually written "sunaokuwahara" rather than Sunao Kuwahara. The fashion brand targets consumers similar to other brands like Issey Miyake and Tsumori Chisato but focusing on a more introspective and intellectual subset of people.
Sunao Kuwahara is not your typical fashion designer. The laid-back, self-proclaimed "lazy" mastermind behind the sunaokuwahara brand says he'd rather see people wear his creations for a long time. In the fashion industry, that phrase is the ultimate taboo. Still, Kuwahara's brand has become one of the top-selling womens' brands in Japan thanks to his unique creative process and attention to detail.
Sunao Kuwahara was born in 1960 in Hiroshima-ken Japan. He graduated from Vantan Design Institute in 1979. In 1989 he began working for legendary Japanese fashion brand Issey Miyake. In 1994, he left Miyake for I.S., where he would have his own collection called I.S. Sunao Kuwahara. In 1996 he moved to A-net. In 2003 he launched his own brand sunaokuwahara, which is still part of the A-net group. A-net has other popular designers including Tsumori Chisato.
Kuwahara, a self described introvert, says his designs are often inspired by things he encounters in his world. On a trip to Germany, for example, he was inspired by paintings in a medieval castle he visited. Through this came a collection based on the comfortable clothes traveling entertainers wore in those days. Other inspirations have come from the French royal courts and Gothic designs. He has shown the world that he's got a talent for intellectual design.
The sunaokuwahara brand has a flagship shop in Tokyo and some of their clothing is available at select shops and boutiques in Japan and shops that specialize in Japanese clothing around the world. There are also various Japanese and international online clothing shops that carry the brand.