Kazumi Yoshida’s unique, fearless and timeless designs are celebrated worldwide. The creative director for renowned textile company Clarence House reveals what fuels his creativity and how his work continues to evolve.Â
Kazumi Yoshida is creative director of Clarence House, a New York-based textiles house known for hand screen printing of fabrics and wallpaper. Yoshida is also a celebrated artist, whose paintings and sculptures have been included in numerous shows throughout the world.
What initially attracted you to textiles?
Growing up in Japan I was surrounded with many beautiful textiles in daily life. But my initial attraction came from Issey Miyakeâ€™s adaptation of textile for high fashions. He combined new fibres and traditional technique of weaving and stitching and made it so contemporary.
What does your particular role involve as Creative Director?
Working with Nina Butkin (VP of Design at Frabricut), we come up with the theme of new collections. My inspiration is often a reflection of the mood of the moment, whether that is from an art exhibition, fashion trend or a dream destination. I will then create several original art works, and then Nina and I will create the collection around them.
What is the philosophy behind Clarence House and how does that influence your process?
We are in [the] luxury business, so attention to detail and quality are a must. Communication with artisans, technicians and clients is a priority, too. We educate each other and help each other to grow and reach new levels. Youâ€™ve been with Clarence House since 1981 and your designs continue to be unique, fearless and timeless.
What fuels your particular creativity?
Iâ€™m always interested in people who create, whether in fashion, architecture, films or theatre. That stimulates my creativity and inspires me to create my own collections.
What have been some of your most memorable commissions to date?
I loved creating pieces for HermÃ¨s. The theme for the collection was whimsy and happiness. HermÃ¨s also created a one-of-a-kind commode using their leathers and my textiles.
What is your current favourite design from the collection?
Always the design you are working on right now is your favourite. But from the 2021 Clarence House Spring collection Arusha, a handmade crewel design and â€˜Blooming Jungleâ€™ which is based on my art.
As an artist, what are some of the considerations when creating a piece that will be translated into fabric and wallpaper?
When you design fabrics or wallpaper based on your own art, you have to consider the scale and balance. You have to imagine how a motif repeats itself. For brocade or lampas, even cut velvets, there is a restriction of colours you can use, so you have to adopt the design accordingly.
What are some of the significant developments in contemporary textiles?
Technology has made it possible to create super-durable textile like using carbon fibre or steel or even paper. But for our end, the most revolutionary thing that happened was digital printing. Technology is so advanced now that you cannot tell from screen prints to digital ones.
How do you see your own work evolving in the future?
I will continue to look into [the] future, considering new technology, new technique or new fibre. But my passion is to preserve traditional ways of weaving and printing, including 18th-century hand loom or wood block printing. Perhaps I will combine new fibres with old-fashioned ways of weaving or vice versa. I still like anything handmade. It has warmth and something fundamental as a human being. Clarence House is available in New Zealand at Atelier Textiles
Clarence House is available in New Zealand at atelier.co.nz