Based around the concept of utility, Ujoh has received a lot of attention in the Tokyo Collection for its elegant womenswear. Since then, the brand has been expanding its business with an eye toward the global, based on the idea that, if the quality of the products is finely polished, then it can advance to the next level. We spoke to the designer, Mitsuru Nishizaki.


Ujoh designer Mitsuru Nishizaki


Mitsuru Nishizaki Mitsuru Nishizaki was born in Fukui in 1978. After graduating from Tokyo Mode Gakuen in 2002, he joined Yohji Yamamoto. He started Ujoh in 2009, and received the DHL Designer Award in 2015.


After having been in charge of patterns under Yohji Yamamoto, I started my own brand. I sometimes tell people my background, but sometimes not. When people call my work “Yohji-like,” I tend to have mixed feelings.

I am not sure I can either 100% deny or 100% agree with that. What does “Ujoh-like” mean? I believe that there is originality in our approach to the collections. I am from Fukui Prefecture, so I want to use synthetic fibres, sports clothing fibres, and keep on creating until I have a flavour all of my own.

I originally started in menswear, so I have a fondness for military styles, vintage clothes. But what I want is a finish that I can make elegant. We have a line with tailoring, symmetry and sportswear elements such as double raschel fabrics and blouson.

Even if we get a beautiful finish when tailoring menswear, we don’t keep a perfectly beautiful style. We change it to a more relaxed look. I dislike the word “unisex”, so I work with the feeling that, ultimately, I want to make women beautiful.

It has been seven years since I started my company. Our initial main target market was close to the volume zone. Of course, that was different from my real target. For autumn/winter 2015 I snapped out of that, and decided to do what I want to do.

I am bursting with the idea of doing and making what I want. In terms of business, a signature item is essential. In my case, that of course meant tailored jackets and shirts suited to those jackets. Our challenge is whether or not we can successfully add fragments of our own essence, accumulated over these seven years, to those items.