TOKYO : He's been hailed a ''fresh new voice'' by Vogue, won admiration from Giorgio Armani and bagged an award :

Mitsuru Nishizaki is hot fashion talent in Japan. But that doesn't guarantee international stardom.

Loud applause and uncharacteristic cheers erupted from the usually restrained Japanese fashion crowd at the 38-year old's packed autumn/winter 2017 collection for brand Ujoh at Tokyo Fashion Week.

The models strode out to upbeat techno tempo, tearing up a multilane catwalk  in a high-energy show starring preppy-grunge, sporty-tailored chic that would not look out of place in New York.

It was eminently wearable with bright  with high-necked  ribbed sweaters slashed at the side, a deconstructed pink pale pink trench coat and crisp shirts that that button front and back to be styled how the wearer desires.

Shoes  were  trainer-meets-loafer - black with white soles and a yellow serrated grip, which he calls shark soles, worn with gypsy-style skirts, pin-stripped suits or slouchy velvet track bottoms.

Nishizaki set up Ujoh in 2009 after seven years as a Yohji Yamamoto  pattern cutter. Six  years later   he won a design award sponsored  sponsored by  DHL and then in 2016 staged a show in Milan.

Armani provided his theatre for the venue, though Nishizaki didn't meet the veteran  Italian designer  in person. Vogue wrote after wards : ''this is how cool girls dress now'' and predicted a  bright future for him.

But what does it take to make it outside Japan?

To follow in the footsteps of  Issey Miyake. Yamamto - Nishizaki's former boss - and Rei Kawakubo, 20th century masters who have flown the nest to take their place among the greats in the fashion pantheon of Paris?

What are the hurdles that need to be overcome in a country where the fashion industry is embedded in exacting standards of tailoring, where creativity at times can take a back seat to doing it the right way?

Ujoh is already stocked in more than a dozen foreign cities such as Barcelona, New York and Seoul. Still Nishizaki's chief ambition is to expand further abroad.

But it's tough road to take domestic success to the next level. 

The honor and serving of the latest Operational Research on Japanese great designers and fashions continues. The World Students  Society thanks author and researcher Jennie Matthew.


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