As we dove into the depths of the mysterious and melancholic library of Paris’ prestigious Lycée Henri IV, the world of BED j.w. FORD immediately unveiled itself. From the midst of the dusty bookshelves, rammed with memories and stories, designer Shinpei Yamagishi teased out what it means to deal with the past – revelling in past emotions, experiences, challenges and successes, accepting them and incorporating them into our process as we move forward to the future.
Hailing from Ishikawa, Japan, and growing up in a coastal haven gazing upon the majestic Sea of Japan, Shinpei Yamagishi, who lives in Tokyo, embarked on a self-guided journey to master the art of fashion design some 14 years ago, founding BED j.w. FORD with his younger brother. Yamagishi’s distinctive aesthetic, shaped by his personal journey, made its grand entrance on the Tokyo Fashion Week runway in 2016. As he showed his Autumn/Winter 2024 collection during Paris Fashion Week, Schön! caught up with the designer to dive into a collection that layered intricate textiles with bold outerwear shapes, oozing emotion and nostalgia.
The show was a very emotional journey, what inspired this collection?
This show is all about the things and people I love, the designers or photographers I have had in the past. All these good memories come together – which is why the collection is very emotional. I wanted to express these memories to everyone. I collected highlights from collections I designed previously, from the clothes, brought them up – usually showing the past to the world is embarrassing, but I felt that this is the moment that I have to have the confidence to show the world what I used to have, how I improved with time. So it’s a very intimate part of myself.
So the past brings with it an innate sense of nostalgia?
Yes, definitely – that nostalgia is linked to struggles of the past, to the creation of the garments. The process is always fun to design, to draw, but presenting the collection is always a pressure, to work on the presentation of something so intimate.
How has the brand evolved over its 14 year tenure? How has your relationship to the brand evolved over that time?
Every time I start a collection, I always feel like I’m starting from the beginning. I always experience this rebirth, this renewal whenever I work on a collection. Even though there are pieces from past collections, every time. It’s like meeting the collection for the first time, every time, like greeting a new friend. I have to put effort into making the garments with care, attention. So 14 is a number – every time is a new beginning.
I worked with my younger brother to found the brand. So the brand is founded around my family, my sibling, so we all come together in BED j.w. FORD. It’s a collective process.
Why is it important for you to show in Paris?
I feel like this city reflects my personality, and that of the brand. It’s free, it’s romantic – look at this space. I never studied abroad, not like so many other designers who go abroad to New York, Paris, London – but I still passionately love being here. When I turned 30, I came here, and saw all the other presentations here, and thought this was the right timing for me to come here. So I dreamt of coming here with the brand – and this dream has become true for the past seasons.
Discover the new BED j.w. FORD collection here.