Q&A: Kei Ninomiya

Each Noir collection for Comme des Garçons showcases Kei Ninomiya's ongoing exploration into new approaches and techniques, and S/S 2015 is no exception.

In 2012 fashion designer Kei Ninomiya made the jump from cutting patterns for Rei Kawakubo to creating a solo brand under the auspices of Japanese label Comme des Garçons. ‘I like the image of black,’ says Ninomiya, whose all-black palette for Noir Kei Ninomiya has been set in stone since day one. Each collection showcases his ongoing exploration into new approaches and techniques, and S/S 2015 is no exception. In his ongoing effort to seek out new forms, the designer uses studs and pearls to hold together simple patterns, expressing depth and dimension without sewing. Careful attention given to the spacing of the studs allows the material to respond to the wearer’s movements, while diversely sized pearls lend shape to the garments. Ninomiya shares a bit more with St-W about his approach to his ongoing Noir collection:

Are there underlying threads which unify the diverse pieces within your collections?
Kei Ninomiya: I’m interested in creating something new and to this end exploring new approaches and methods. I think this infuses the clothes with a certain kind of integrity.

Does experimentation during the design process drive the final results of your designs?
Noir Kei Ninomiya will consistently seek out new forms of expression. The means to do this will change each season – approach, details, and techniques. Countless strips of material are connected with rings or tape and shaped into garments.

How does the manipulation of the diverse range of materials impact your design?
The idea behind both collections is that the clothes are based on simple patterns, and they use techniques other than sewing to create depth and dimension.

For A/W 2014, I formed the individual parts of a garment from strips of material connected with chains and rings. The strips have no complete joints but appear to float on top of each other. The layers create depth, which gives the garment as a whole an element of surprise. I also used other techniques, like taping, but the point for this collection is that the garments are shaped by means other than sewing.

For S/S 2015, I made the clothes with studs and pearls, or attachments normally used for decoration. Again, I chose an approach other than sewing to create dimension. In the studded pieces, the spacing is calculated so that the material moves with the wearer’s body. In the pearl pieces, different sizes of pearls are used to give shape to the garment.

Is ‘noir’ a temporary choice or will it maintain a long-term presence in your work?
Noir Kei Ninomiya explores designs themed around black. I like the image of black.

You can now find Kei Ninomiya's S/S 2015 Noir collection for Comme des Garçons in the online .

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