Inside Tanaka Daisuke’s transcendent world. In an interview with DEW, designer and embroidery artist Tanaka Daisuke gets real about his latest collection and artistic principles.
One of the amazing things about fashion is the ability it has to transport you into a world full of imagination, how wearing certain pieces can have you feeling whims of fantasy – and that’s exactly what Tanaka Daisuke does. Tanaka Daisuke is a Japanese designer who is known for his other-worldly and dreamy take on design. The designer graduated from the Bunka Fashion College in Osaka and was once a part of Keita Maruyama.
Daisuke made his runway debut at the Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo where he presented his SS22 collection, however, his debut collection goes way back to 2021. His debut was a tough one as it took place during the global pandemic. With the restrictions that took place, he had to go out of his comfort zone to book models much earlier than usual, meaning that his models were cast when the collection was still in mere development. However, this allowed him to view his model as muses to further make the collection more wearable and suitable for various looks.
Although Daisuke is now focused on his namesake clothing brand, he also made his name as a costume designer and embroidery artist. Being a costume designer allowed him to design costumes for various performers and stage performances. Embroidery however has always been an interest for him, he shares with us how despite the level of complication the activity has, he still finds joy in doing such due to his love for it.
“I feel like as a costume designer I only create pieces with one person in mind but as a fashion designer I can create for multiple people and edgier pieces I feel like that’s an interesting point,” he explains, “ […] As a fashion designer, I can create 20 to 30 looks, and I can create designs that are like stories of a whole collection.”
In his latest Fall/Winter 2023 collection, titled “Behind the Moon,” the designer presents a mystical collection filled with cool greyish tones and a juxtaposition of minimalist clothing that is combined with opulent embellishments and jewellery. Streams of glimmery chain accessories drape across the model’s body, while romantic lace accents creep upon the wearer’s body like a second skin. It’s beautiful, it’s melancholic, yet it’s haunting.
“I think that it’s hard to explain but, (I try) not to be too much. Sometimes I need some space for my designs, and I feel so I am trying to control that space,” the designer confesses in our interview. “This last collection was a struggle, but I like it. It’s a huge and beautiful one. The hard part was there were so many things on my mind, so many conflicts in my mind but I had an answer (for this) in my mind and I explored these ideas in this collection.”
A key principle that the designer always keeps in mind is self-discovery, He wishes for his clothes to be a catalyst for his consumers in the process of discovering new sides of themselves. With self-discovery at the forefront of his brand, his clothing is meant to have a pinch of magic, a sense of transcendence. Fittingly so, the designer takes inspiration from classic magical-girl animations. As a child, the designer watched animes like “Ojamajo Doremi,” “Cardcaptor Sakura” and “Sailor Kid,” which perhaps enhanced his sensibilities in creating such fantasy-like designs.
“What I need, what I wish for, is that he or she who wears Tanaka Daisuke clothing becomes a totally different person or be a positive impact or becomes brave. That’s the power of fashion I feel so yeah I intended to make that kind of dreamy dramatic romantic clothing as a creation,” explains Daisuke on why it’s vital for his creations to maintain a fairytale-like element, “I love old textiles and designs and by adding my essence as an embroidery artist I feel like I can find a new design or mood as Tanaka Daisuke. “
However, as surreal as his designs are, the designer keeps practicality and marketability well in mind. “When creating a piece of the collection, I wanted young people to purchase it. I kind of struggled with the price point of the creations so everyone can purchase it but trying to create what I wanted to express costs money!” the designer elaborates. Although some designers might be tight on their idealism, Daisuke still wants his clothes to be accessible and appealing to a wide audience, so commerciality and functionality are still a concern to him when creating new pieces.
Another principle Daisuke has in regard to his designs is maintaining balance in the pieces. Although his pieces tend to feature softer delicate features like lace, embellishments, ruffles, and such, there’s still something very powerful and solid about his designs. Perhaps it’s the sleek and sharp tailoring, perhaps it’s a strong dedication to creating pieces that don’t conform to modern-day essentials, or perhaps it’s the unapologetic attitude towards maximalist details. (Text Vanya Harapan)