Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons shoots up the rankings

“The power of fashion frees people from preconceived notions” / “Overwhelming creativity”

Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons shot up the rankings in the Rankings of the Most Creative Designers Driving the Modern Era, which are chosen by buyers from influential specialty stores and the directors of department stores in Japan. The Comme des Garçons exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City, United States, up through September 4 was much talked-about, and articles praising Rei Kawakubo were written by newspapers and magazines from around the world once again this year. Given this new international focus she has achieved, the majority of department store buyers and directors voted for Kawakubo, and she took the number two spot for womenswear and the number three spot for menswear in the international division.
* Comme des Garçons has established major sales bases in other countries as well, so it was surveyed as an international brand.

Comments that stood out when it came to Rei Kawakubo in the womenswear division include: “The power of fashion frees people from preconceived notions and the pressure to conform. This is an immutable ideology and worldview that is driving contemporary fashion” and “The exhibition she held at the MET has further ensconced her in a position that others aspire towards.” In the menswear division, she received praise to the effect that, “For her spring/summer 2018 collection, for which there were high hopes because of her MET appearance, she pursued a new dimension of clothing based on the theme of the ‘behind the clothing’. You can sense the fun and energy with this.”

Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga was chosen for the top spot in the international division for both womenswear and menswear. He received high scores with womenswear as a continuation from the last rankings, thus maintaining the momentum needed to outpace the runners-up. In the menswear international division, he moved up from his previous showing of second place.

Conversely, one brand that soared high last time but saw its rank fall this time was Vetements, the other brand that Demna Gvasalia is managing. Naturally, of course it kept a high ranking, but it lost some of its former lustre. However, there was strong support for the brand, with opinions like, “Make no mistake, this brand is currently influencing the largest number of other brands.” Comments like, “As things currently stand numerous brands are conforming to Vetements, in both a positive sense and a negative sense, which is boring for buyers,” were representative of the zeitgeist.

One other person who has consolidated their presence in the international division is Raf Simons. In addition to his signature brand of Raf Simons, which consistently ranks near the top in the menswear division each season, this time his Calvin Klein 205W39NYC made the rankings for both menswear and womenswear. “I can’t look away, because I want to see what changes take place with this big brand symbolic of the US that has a variety of lines covering everything from the mass to luxury markets.”

In the domestic menswear division, Hiromichi Ochiai of Facetasm has surpassed Sacai, which has maintained the top spot for the past several years, to become number one. “The designer’s worldview is in perfect alignment with the times. Its profile has been on the rise internationally as well.” “I hope that their original creations demonstrate an even further reach.”

The first through fifth spots in the womenswear division were the same as they were last time. Chitose Abe of Sacai is seeing renewed momentum, while Maiko Kurogochi of the second-place Mame has been garnering better and better reviews year after year. Chiharu Fukuya, who manages sixth-place Coate, made the rankings for the first time. Their presence has been noticeable at sales points for their autumn/winter 2017-18 collections, and so there are high hopes for them in the future.
*These designer rankings are performed twice a year. For this ranking, surveys were carried out with a focus on autumn/winter 2017-18, pre-spring 2018, and spring/summer 2018 collections.


■ Cooperating stores