”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 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 CHAT WITH MIKAGE SHIN X KREEP. MAGAZINE
KREEP: How did your passion for design start and how your creative process work?
I started to get into fashion when I entered junior high school. When I changed my clothes and changed from glasses to contact lenses, the reaction of my friends to me drastically changed.
I’ve learned that fashion can change my impression and my life. Until then, I had been worried about being half-Japanese and being different from the other friends. In those days, around 1990s, there were quire less half-Japanese children in Japan compared to today. I was always annoyed about the identity problem. However, I realized that my identity is not be decided by others, but something that can be decided by myself. Moreover, I learned that I could change myself and my life.I decided to change myself into what I wanted to be by fashion and behavior. Little by little, I became more confident in myself. The facts and process that my efforts changed myself made me stronger. My behavior and my personality became more positive. Since being really crazy into fashion, I spent most of time and pocket money on fashion magazines. Fashion magazines were totally magic worlds for me. Every month, I was studying clothes, hair styling and make-up. Fashion was like my armor, and it empower my inside, too.
Although I did get a job once as a Marketing Strategist in Japanese biggest advertisement agency, I could not give up my dream. As the harder I worked at it, the more I knew I wanted to make fashion my life’s work.
I found out that I had wanted to build a person’s confidence, just like me.I had wanted to devote my life to making people inherently happy.Then, I decided to become a designer.
I would like to share this impressive experience with more people that fashion gave me. All my creativities revolve to my formative experience.
KREEP: How fashion nowadays helps and motivate you to become a fashion designer?
Everything I see and know in life is an inspiration.
I often analyze what people are wearing, why they’re wearing it, what they’re wearing on social networking sites and on the street. However, more than that, I am stimulated by the movements and opinions of society as a whole outside the fashion industry, such as actions on political, economic issues, social issues, and movements in public opinion. Fashion should be the thing that propose new way of life constantly.It’s not an island isolated from the rest of the world.
KREEP: Can you tell us a little bit about your references for the last collection?
The collection name of MIKAGE SHIN 2020AW is “Early Color”.
I was Inspired by Saul Leiter, a legendary street and fashion photographer based in NYC from 1950s. His early photo book was named as “Early Color”.
He attempted to capture anonymous New Yorkers’ daily life. It looked not spectacular or fantastic world like a Hollywood movie, fashion show and magazines. However, everyone hustled for own dream and. life. No matter how you are celebrities or not, everyone is a “special hero or heroin“ for own life.
Mikage Shin, the designer of MIKAGE SHIN was highly impressed by Saul Leiter’s humane eyes to all people and their daily life.
Mikage was reinterpreted 1950s-60s trend style in business workers in NYC and reconstructed and created new “daily armor” to empower today’s more diverse people.
We always wish that our fashion make you stronger and move forward you to live as more as you. Fashion is power.
Are you sick of people talking about millennials? Do you see yourself as a designer for young people, a new generation?
No. I don’t think so. Because people should talk about millennials to understand the changing of era.
It’s not only millennials’ issue, more about changing of the whole era. I do not think of myself as a millennial designer but think of myself as just “one designer” born in this era.
My awareness of a wide range of issues such as gender and environmental issues, politics and economics, and my respect for diversity may indeed be characteristics of the millennial generation. However, it’s not necessarily just for the younger and newer generations. All the people who live together in this world now are our same human and not isolated.
KREEP: How fashion competitions can change the business industry? Will you apply at some in the future?
Fashion competitions would be very realistically effective in raising the profile of talented young designers and making their potential visible for raising funds from investors for them.
Actually, fashion business is very peculiar and limited. Unlike other ventures, fashion is difficult to quantify its potential and talent.
Getting attentions in a prestigious competition is one clear track record and criteria for judgement. When investors flock to the fashion industry and support them, it will help grow more great talent and revitalize the fashion industry as a whole.
I am, of course, considering applying. I’ve already done some research and I prepare for it.
KREEP: How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothes?
Confident, Self Esteem, Strong. No matter your gender, age, nationality and anything else, you can be confident for yourself.
KREEP: What do you think it’s your best-selling piece from your last collection?
“Skin Coat” is one of them. Skin Coat is from my first season’s collection, “Skin and Warmth” Collection in 2019AW. I was inspired by Italian great architect and interior designer, Gio Point. Ponti had strong aesthetic philosophy which was named “Skin and Warmth”.He pursued the aesthetic of interior and exterior of architectures by using maximization and decoration techniques. I was inspired by his idea and interpreted this concept to represent not only the external beauty of human but also the internal beauty human for representing today’s diverse beauty.
Therefore, Skin Coat looks very constructional. it consists of so many layers like his architectures.
Also, this coat is not only artistic design but also very functional.This coat has so many pockets, and It can be transformed into three different styles by taking off some detachable layers.
Adrian Mercel pulled out it for his live tour costume, and ICONACCIDENTAL, Chris Lavish and more celebrities wore it.
KREEP: What do you think about the opportunity of selling your products on online platforms, you think it might be a good showcase for your work and your future?
Selling online is a must. However, each product has suitable channel and each product has unsuitable one, too. I think we have to make good use of O2O and D2C by being aware of how to use them.
KREEP: What young designers need right now from fashion industry to grow up?
Funds, production support, and media coverage. For example, buyers usually do not buy from new brand for even though their works are great. They usually watch the brand for three seasons before they buy it, but the brand has to take on a huge amount of debt each time with enduring no income. It’s a huge risk, and a lot of brands will go down before they can last three seasons. Therefore, financial support is the most important thing. Also, providing a production line is very supportive. Young designers cannot hold own huge factory, and it is also hard to find good production.
KREEP: List us three favorite designers / icons who inspire you.
My favorite designers are Phoebe Philo, Jonathan Anderson and Chitose Abe from Sacai.
They design genderless, intelligent and artistic designs with a distinctive personality. I think, these things are definitely innovations.
Yes. Taylor Swift, ACCIDENTAL ICON, Rihanna, May Mask and more. Especially, I saw “MISS AMERICANA”, Taylor’s Netflix movie, and so impressed by her strong integrity and intelligence.