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Controversial Catwalk: Comme des Garçons’ “Sleep” Collection, 1995

Barbara Brownie

Source: Fashion Photography Archive, 2015, Fashion Photography Archive


In 1995, Comme des Garçons provoked controversy with a collection featuring distressed fabric that bore faded boot prints, along with loose-fitting loungewear of blue-and-white striped cotton. Although Rei Kawakubo herself denied any intentional reference to the Holocaust, audiences saw the boot prints as references to bodies trampled underfoot, the vertically striped pajamas as imitations of those worn by concentration camp inmates. Large, “meaningless” numbers, printed onto hems, seemed to invi

Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons

Bonnie English

Source: Japanese Fashion Designers. The Work and Influence of Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, 2011, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

Vera Mackie (2003: 144)… women [in Japan] were condemned to be ‘mothers’ or ‘whores’.

Radical Retailer

Kat Duffy , Karinna Nobbs

Source: Bloomsbury Fashion Business Cases

Level: Intermediate

Business case

Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe have, over the last forty years, created an evolving bricks-and-mortar retail strategy with Comme des Garçons (CdG) and the CdG owned Dover Street Market, reporting annual sales of $280 million. Kawakubo and Joffe have been pioneers, as the first luxury brand to experiment or twist the rules of established retail strategies. From a strategic perspective, successful formats can and do emerge from structured business models. Often, however, winning formats can also mat

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