Creative Industry Report: Rei Kawakubo

Who is Rei Kawakubo, emblematic figure of fashion ?

Rei Kawakubo, born in 1942. She is a Japanese fashion designer, based in Tokyo and Paris. She is the founder of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market. Kawakubo was not formally trained as a fashion designer. She took a degree in ‘the history of aesthetics’ at Keio University in Tokyo. After graduation in 1964, Kawakubo worked in the advertising department at the textile company Asahi Kasei. And in 1967, she became a freelance stylist. Two years later, when she could not find the clothes that she wanted for a photo shoot, she decided to design and make her own clothes under the label Comme des Garçons, French for “like some boys” (though she has never wanted to be like anyone). She opened her first boutique in Tokyo, 1973, setting up the brand’s non-conformist: empty shop windows, clothes at the back of the store and no mirrors at all. The message is very clear: you buy an item from Comme des Garcons for what it brings to you, not for what it makes you look like.

Who is Rei Kawakubo, emblematic figure of fashion ?

In recognition of the notable design contributions of Kawakubo, an exhibition of her designs entitled Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons, Art of the In-Between opened from 4 May to 4 September 2017 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This thematic show features approximately 140 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear for Comme des Garçons dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection, illustrating the designer’s revolutionary experiments in “in-betweenness”-the space between boundaries. Kawakubo’s creative pieces are always abstract, unconventional, and unpredictable-they are always beyond our expectations. As rather than respond to trends, she rooted her designs in concepts, straddling art and fashion. Because most of her works did not fit the industry’s perception of what women wanted, especially her early works, her designs were sometimes described as anti-fashion.

One of her works that left a deep impression on me is the Spring/Summer 1997 collection, she took the idea of ‘rethinking the body’ a step further and launched her famous ‘Lumps ‘n Bumps’ collection, called ‘Dress Meets Body, Body Meets Dress,” where the dress and the body become one: this collection integrated organic padded structures made out of goose down feathers, and completely disfigured the body. It reformed the human body and blurred the boundaries between dress and body, object and subject. It was a celebration of deformity and was challenging the normative conventions of beauty.  

“For something to be beautiful it doesn’t have to be pretty… Comme des Garçons is a gift to oneself, not something to appeal or to attract the opposite sex,” Kawakubo’s iconoclastic vision made her one of the most influential designers of the late 20th century. However, her ambition was never to become a designer, she just wanted to use fashion as a material to make a business out of creation. Kawakubo likes to have input in all the various aspects of her business, instead of just focusing on clothes and accessories. She is greatly involved in graphic design, advertising, interior design and installations, believing that all these things are a part of one vision and are inextricably linked. And she does inspire me to learn to accept new things and changes; rethink about what beauty means to me and continue to push the boundaries, and eventually find out my own way of creation.



Thurman, J. (2014). The Unsettling Vision of Rei Kawakubo. Available at:

Who is Rei Kawakubo, e. (2019). Who is Rei Kawakubo, emblematic figure of fashion? | EN. Available at:

Rei Kawakubo | Biography & Facts. (2020). Available at:

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between – Rei Kawakubo – Google Arts & Culture. Available at:


Project 2B_Research and Process


When I got the idea of doing my zine about discovering the black and white elements in Little India, the first thing came into mind was the design of Chanel and Dior magazine.

Images from Pinterest- minimalist style 

Initially, I didn’t have a clear idea about the design of my cover. After the consultation with Shirley, I decided to draw patterns that I found in Tekka Centre in Little India on my front cover.

I put a picture of a door on the first page to show that    I used the photo of the outside view of Park 22 Hotel, which was the first building that I found in Little India that designed in colour of black and white only.  I was trying to make everything organised and put them in horizontal and vertical alignment.

For the spread of BIRDS, I used film strip as a border of the photos to show that this spread is like playing a documentary about the pigeons daily life in Little India.

I was trying to place the photos in a collage manner and made adjustments of their size and orientation to create a sense of depth. In addition, added some round shapes for the background to bring out a joyful atmosphere.

For the spread of CLOTHES, I got inspiration from the design idea of Dior Magazine. Then, I tried to tilt some of the pictures a bit and added some illustrations to make this spread more interesting and vivid.

Tried to create a diagonal arrangement in idea 2.

Test Print

In the end, pattern and map were both kept on my back cover. And I changed the style of the map to match the design of my front cover.

Final Work


I was really enjoyed when I was doing this project, going down to the location, strolling around and taking photos, which is a kind of things that I would like to do in my spare time. In addition, one point added to my Indesign skills. 🙂 I have never ever touched Indesign before, it’s really cool to learn new things, although it’s hard at the beginning. Never stop learning and exploring, and try to jump out of the box to find out something different and unique.


Locale Gallery

Locale_Collection of data

Project 2A_Little India

Little India is located in the centre area of Singapore and at the east of the Singapore River. (MRT Station: NE7/DT12)

Little India is one of Singapore’s most vibrant ethnic districts, as well as a buzzing historic area with a vibrant culture in Singapore. Walking down the Serangoon Street and the neighbouring streets, I have seen a lot of Hindu and Chinese temples, mosques and churches.

As I entered Little India, the first thing that caught my eyes were the vibrant colours. I could hardly find any monochromatic elements.


However, I still believe the existence of them. So I decided to stroll around and discover the little bits of black and white in the colourful Little India.

Collection of Data

Park 22 Hotel, which was the first building that I found in Little India that designed in colour of black and white, both inside and outside. The staff there was very friendly and also allowed me to take photos inside.

I found a lot of pigeons which are in black and white colours around Little India. They are eating, sleeping, playing, and strolling here everyday. So I decided to do a documentary about pigeons life in Little India.

All the clothes here are found at the second level in Tekka Centre, which is an open-air Centre with a large indoor ‘wet’ market, as well as some goldsmith shops and sari stores.



Locale Gallery

Locale Process

Image Making Through Type – Research and Process

Project 1 – Research
 3D Typography
Image result for ribbon typo–vector-3530

Personally, I think ‘Synth’ is a really good example to guide us what we are supposed to do for this project: find out the main visual elements-deconstruct them-identify the essential elements-apply the elements onto the typeface.
typeworship:“Appliance AlphabetFor the ever popular 36 days of type project, Vinicius Araújo designed an alphabet of 3D letterforms representing a variety branded electronic devices. Each represents a brand’s namesake product and is modelled around...

Initially, I was thinking about to create 3D style typography by using C4D for this project. However, there are a number of 3D works in my portfolio. At the beginning of a new year, it’s also a time to start learning new things and creating something different. So I decided to use Illustrator to create all the four pieces of my work.

Handmade Typography

This piece of handmade typography has been produced out of old boxes and a footstool – a simple and fun way to produce a stunning piece of work!
Creating letterforms out of found objects tends to yield interesting and raw results. This is no exception. It's highly creative, stylized, and oddly poignant. It is possible to read further into the meaning of the piece as a commentary on the body as the ultimate means of communication.

Becca clason food typography



Maricor Maricar –

2D Illustration Typography

This is the style that I’m gonna experiment in this project so that I could add something new into my portfolio.



Project 1 – Process

In this project, we have to create typography based on our names and dream jobs.

My name is YR/YAN/RAN/然


I am a ballet dancer/chef/carpenter/scientist/photographer/filmmaker/jungle explorer/3D animator/apparel designer…

Vive como si fueras a morir mañana, trabaja como si no necesitaras el dinero, baila como si nadie estuviera mirando
The pasta maker's equipment...
photographic equipment, cameras, slides, lenses, rolls of film
Pocket sextant as used by Victorian explorers and surveyors. Intricate and semi-functional, sextant has all the pieces needed to shoot the sun

I found some reference images of visual elements that related to my listed jobs and sketched out my ideas.

After consultation, I finalised my 4 future jobs to work on.

  • Ballet Dancer
  • Scientist
  • Jungle Explorer
  • Photographer


1- Ballet Dancer

Image from:

Elements: ballet shoes/ribbon/ballet skirt/tutu/ballet studio/barre

I decided to represent this job by using ribbons of ballet shoes and using pastel colours to show the ‘GRACE’ of ballet.

And one of the difficulties for me was trying to figure out where to add shadows and highlights to make the texture of the ribbon more realistic.

In the end, I decided to add white tutu for the background instead of using the normal ballet skirt, as white tutu is one of the unique elements of a ballet dancer. And I also tried to adjust the size of the letters and tweak a bit with the perspective in Photoshop. Here comes the final work.



2- Scientist

Elements: laboratory/labware(test tube/beaker)/microscope/chemical formula

I chose test tubes as the visual representation of this job. For colours, I decided to use the secondary colours orange and green for the chemical reagent inside. As I tried to use orange to represent the passion of the scientist about their work, although sometimes it might be dangerous. And the green colour is associated with regeneration, ecosystem, knowledge and sustainability…

Except adding shadows,  I also tried to create a negative space in the centre area of the background to make the test tubes stand out. And I filled the background with light turquoise which is a kind of colour that associated with laboratory.


3-Jungle Explorer

Elements: map/compass/knife/rope/magnifier/binocular/tropical plants

I chose compass as the visual representation of this job as it is one of the essential equipments of an explorer. I did research online for different types of the compass and I chose the one with wooden texture as my reference in the end. As brownish colour is related to the natural elements, such as the tree trunk and soil. Then I put tropical plants as the background to signify ‘Jungle’ and added another layer filled with yellow colour behind to show the hot weather condition.




Elements: camera body/lens/camera flash/film strip/tripod

For this occupation, I used camera and tripod to form the letter. Initially, I just arranged all the three letters in a horizontal line. My friends suggested me to tilt the letters and adjust them into different sizes to make the whole composition more interesting. And after that, I added film strips to the background and adjusted their sizes and opacities to create a sense of movement.



One of the biggest takeaway from this project is started creating my work by using Illustrator. Thanks to my friends and Graphic Form project 1, now I could probably add a point to my Illustrator skills. In addition, asking friends for feedback is definitely helpful and necessary.



Project 1 _ Gallery