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Cultural inspirations.

(Pub date: 18/05/2011)

Following his recent design workshop in Muscat, TheWeek spoke with designer Tetsuya Mizutani about the Japanese national dress and what inspires him

Japanese designer Tetsuya Mizutani held a workshop for design students at the Higher College of Technology last week, when TheWeek met up with him to talk fashion. The desig-ner is best known in Oman for his clever abaya designs that incorporate elements of the kimono and were shown at his multi-sensory fashion show in Muscat last October

The workshop, which was hosted by the Embassy of Japan, aimed at teaching the students about the world of the kimono including how it is made and the different aspects of its design. "Students are very pure when it comes to how they look and think about design, so I was very happy to work with them. They had a lot of potential. I taught the students what a kimono is and its seven different types," Tetsuya said.

During the workshop, he emphasised the importance that nature has when it comes to designing the kimono and the pattern of the cloth it is made from. He added that while flying into Muscat, he was amazed at the beauty of sights such as the mountains from above and how they reminded him of pleats on an item of clothing or sculpted marble.

When it came to the student's reaction to his talk, Tetsuya said, "Many of the students had never seen a kimono before, so I encouraged them to touch the materials and try the kimono on so they could get a real feel to it, while I explained what an expensive item of clothing it is. They were really surprised to find out how much energy and work it takes to make just one kimono."

The students were also amazed by how expensive a kimono can be. Due to the nature of the workshop, Tetsuya said he did not have time to discuss with those in attendance about incorporating aspects of the kimono into an abaya and instead focused on his national dress. He feels that by seeing and touching a kimono, the students now have a better understanding of it.

Regarding the aim of the workshop, Tetsuya said, "I wanted them to feel and look at nature, which is incorporated in the design and acts as a strong inspiration for the kimono. I am sure that they understood this. None of the students said they were planning to try and make kimonos now, but this is understandable as they are difficult to make. They seemed to enjoy learning about wearing and making them as they asked lots of questions."

Following the success of last year's fashion show and this workshop, Tetsuya was very pleased to confirm that he is currently in negotiations to open up his first shop in Oman. By opening the shop, Tetsuya hopes that it will help him in learning more about Arabic designs while learning more about the local culture. He also thanked the Embassy of Japan for giving him the opportunity to hold the workshop and the earlier fashion show.

Following the recent tragic events in Japan, Tetsuya feels that workshops such as the one he hosted where different nationalities come together and discuss their cultures are very important for the future. "In the same way that the students wanted to learn about my culture, I also want to learn about theirs so we both got something out of the workshop. I hope there will be more opportunities f

or people to exchange information on culture between Japan and Arab countries."

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Publication:The Week (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:May 22, 2011
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