A moment of zen for Tokyo fashion label No,No,Yes!

No,No,Yes! is a Tokyo-based fashion label equally steeped in tradition and modernity – much like its home base.  Specializing in leather ready-to-wear fashion and accessories, No,No,Yes! combines the aesthetic of origami with some rather avant garde preparations.

For Makoto Kawamura – No,No,Yes! co-designer with Taichiro Hashimoto (also a friend and fellow Kobe native) – it all encompasses a simple one-word explanation: “Zen.”  Speaking at a special showroom event following the appearance of his label’s designs at the LEATHER JAPAN 2012 presentation at New York Fashion Week, Kawamura explained the pre-design process of the bags and wallets on display.

“I meditate first before starting to make it,” he said through a translator.  “This way I’m trying to really concentrate in [order to be in a state of] zen.  I’m trying to find out where my spirit is.  Once I feel that my mind, my spirit and everything is one, then I start to make it.”

Believe it or not, Kawamura embarks on this process before every accessory is made, whether it takes one minute or 10 hours to achieve his desired state.  That is just the beginning.  There’s much more to consider before the designs even start to see the light of day, such as the type of leather used and the method of construction.  For the latter, Kawamura compares the accessories to some of the ancient shrines throughout Japan that were built without nails.  Likewise, the No,No,Yes! wallets and handbags shown in New York, for example, did not feature a single stitch, relying solely on folds.  A particularly sizable handbag was made with just one piece of leather; the same holds true with the label’s wallets four years later through a philosophy called shosa (translated as “graceful carriage”).

To learn more about the leather designs of No,No,Yes! – sold in Japan and in more than a dozen other countries in such prestigious shops as Hong Kong’s Konzepp, New York’s MoMA Store, and Taipei’s EXPO Eslite x Platform Original – watch our short video clip from the Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week collections: