A TALK WITH MIKAGE SHIN

”The clothes for empowering self-made intelligent women and all genders who live in this world strongly without stereotypes of gender, ethnicity and age.

Whenever and Wherever, You are Always YOU.”

Mikage Shin

 

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Mikage Shin was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1991.

She is an aspiring designer for Japan who is rapidly making her way mark within the underground fashion scene. Even though she came to New York in 2017, Mikage has already achieved NYFW, VFW, Miami Fashion Week, Hotel Asia Art Fair 2019’s special exhibition successfully. MIKAGE SHIN works were on VOGUE ITALIA, Teen VOGUE, Refinary 29, L’OFFICIEL LITHUANIA and more. On December 31, 2018, her fashion show was also featured by NY1 Spectrum News.

In Mikage’s childhood, her Japanese father and her Korean mother divorced. Mikage and her sister were taken by the mother, and she began to think about―what was the best life for women, what was the importance of nationality, what was the identity―? From these backgrounds, Mikage has been highly interested in social problems. Mikage had challenged lots of social actions since she was in senior high school.

In addition to that, she was really into another thing―FASHION. Mikage was impressed by various fashion styles that could change a person’s impression completely different. Thanks to fashion, she found that what she liked could shape her real identity. It is not decided by nationality, age, and social status. You can be what you want to be by yourself. Mikage could gain self-confidence through fashion.

In 2014, Mikage graduated from Waseda University and entered Dentsu as a marketing planner in 2014. However, she could not give up her dreams. She quit the company and entered PARSONS the New School for Design in 2017 to fulfill her dream. While she was in Parsons School of Design, Mikage Shin became an aspiring designer and got shooting offers from NY based fashion creators. Her works has already been published in several print and digital outlets, including Flanelle Magazine, Soleil Magazine, Afropolitian and more.

Mikage is eager to create new genderless and ageless brands for empowering today’s intelligent self-made woman and individual, who lives in such a difficult time without any unreasonable limitation and stereotype. The 20th century’s art history and 21st century’s social problems highly inspire her avant-garde designs. Since she firmly believes that fashion definitely can promote self-confidence and change their life greatly, she is creating best clothes today.

 

 A TALK WITH MIKAGE SHIN X 33 MAGAZINE

 

33: How does your brand position itself on the international market?

My brand position is in the specific field of international market. From the launch phase of the brand, I have clearly suggested that my brand is for matured individuals who are intelligent and independent with strong aesthetic and philosophy about how they want to live. They are interested not only in fashion, but also in social and environmental issues. I never want to make a division or targeting by age, gender, or physical segment. 
33: How the brand was born and how many people are involved in the team now? 

After the graduation from PARSONS, I started out by setting up the brand on my own to achieve my primary ideal. I did all the work on my own in NY, as much as possible. I’ve done everything from design, production management, marketing, PR, web and SNS operations, and EC management. Now I’m spinning with one full-time employees and two interns. Also, I have two mentors outside of my company. We’re a start-up company, so we’re cautious about spending our finances. We will continue to hire good people as we grow.

 

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33: What do you think is the biggest challenge for a young brand right now? 

I think it’s tough on everything. Fashion has entered an era where it is particularly hard to sell. As a business, it’s no longer a growth market with a steep curve. It’s already saturated. The overproduced clothes are sometimes left unsold in large quantities and discarded in the name of “DONATION” to developing countries…

However, I believe that fashion should have the power to empower people. Fashion should make people’s happiness. I have to create only good clothes with a strong responsibility and mission to make people happy. 

I also think the particularly tough process is organizing a good team with holding good production lines and supplies. Design is a team works. I think designers should be confident but modest.

33: How do you want to achieve the long-lasting concept for your brand? How do you determine what is durable design?

I believe that each collection should not be an isolated project. Each collection concept should branch from a single core. In the case of my brand, the whole collection comes down to “creating confidence and attitude for empowering people”.

For example, the past “Skin and Warmth” collection was inspired by Gio Ponti, who was the Italian great architect to pursue the aesthetic of interior and exterior of architectures. I was inspired by his idea and interpret this concept to represent not only the external beauty of the person but also the internal beauty of the person as a total beauty. 

In another case, “Early Color,” a new collection which is presented in latest PFW, is inspired by Saul Leiter’s works who captured normal anonymous New Yorkers’ daily life.  I got inspiration from Leiter’s very humane and warm eyes to capture the people who hustle for their own life. I reinterpreted his works and make RTW collection for empowering people who hustled their daily life strongly.

I determine durable design is essential design or multi-transformable clothes such as two-way or three-way clothes to react the situation flexibly.

 

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33: What happens to that part of a production that does not get sold? How far do you go in terms of sustainability? 

In order to avoid making overstock and overproduction, we have strived to create limited and proper productions.

Moreover, I strive to create only very limited good designs, and I refuse to produce wasteful collection to show designer’s egoistic work for the sake of self-aggrandizement. I feel strong responsibility as a professional designer.

In addition to that, sustainability means not only for “eco-friendly” but also for “humans”. 

As we want to continue the healthy business for human and human rights, we try to communicate with factory’s craftsmen and respect them by fair wages. 

33: Where could you serve as a role model for others?

I’d be presumptuous to say it myself, but I think everything I’ve written above is the best I can do.

 

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