Arts Maebashi


It’s Alright To Be Here − writtenafterwards The Possibility of Fashion Written with Yoshikazu Yamagata 

2024.4.27 - 2024.6.16

Yoshikazu Yamagata, through his fashion label called “writtenafterwards,” has won renown for his narrative-like collections inspired by myths and fairy tales. While pursuing the purity of the spirit of ‘dressing up’ with a fashion expression filled with nostalgia and humor, and on occasion, ironical representations of a world relentlessly battered by frequent disasters, conflicts, pandemics and social division, Yamagata continues to have an impact on us that extends beyond the realm of fashion.
“It’s Alright To Be Here” is the title of this exhibition which introduces the history of Yoshikazu Yamagata and writtenafterwards. The English word “here” in the title is represented by Yamagata with the Japanese word  “coco” which he also uses to refer to a homonym meaning “individual.” For Yamagata, “coco” is a place (“here”) that can serve as a sanctuary for the individual from a society saddled with environmental pollution, human rights issues and myriad other social problems. It is a place where Yamagata has always gone to in his pursuit of fashion expression that responds to changes in local history, lifestyles and culture.
Also known as an educator, Yamagata has dedicated himself to the cultivation of future generations of designers through coconogacco, (the school of “coco” or the “here and now”), a school that he started for experimentation, where students can examine their own lives and structures of society as they develop their own individual (‘coco’) fashion expression. Yamagata’s motivation, he says, lies in his “own experience as a person who found, through the creation and expression of fashion, a chance for self-examination, a place in the world and an affirmation to live.”
In this exhibition, the story of Yamagata’s ongoing creative journey is presented through the interweaving of the various meanings of “coco” in Yamagata’s fashion expression to date in six chapters that occupy the entire Arts Maebashi building, a former commercial facility that has been converted into an art museum.
The name “writtenafterwards” has the meaning of “afterword” or “postscript.”Yamagata, who has consistently used fashion to challenge himself and society, has added a postscript at the end of this exhibition within the underground space of Arts Maebashi. What  kind of  “coco” (“here and now”) has he created that expresses 2024, a year in which chaos continues to ensue?

Hours|10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Admission until 5:30 p.m.)
Admission|General admission: 800 yen; Students, persons 65 and over, and groups of 10 or more: 600 yen; High school students and younger: Free
*Free admission for those with a disability certificate and one caregiver.
*Free of charge on May 5 (Sun.), Children’s Day
Organizer|Arts Maebashi
Grant|Japan Arts Council
Support|Jomo Shimbun, Gunma Television, FM GUNMA, Maebashi CITY FM
Cooperation|Takenori Miyamoto Research Groups(Tokyo University of the Arts), FashionStudies®, PENSEE GALLERY、KIRYU UNIVERSITY JUNIOR COLLEGE(Department of Art and Design), ASHU NAKANISHIYA

【Artist Profile】

Yoshikazu Yamagata
Born in 1980 in Tottori, Japan, Yoshikazu Yamagata graduated from Central Saint Martins (London, England) in 2005. Under the fashion label writtenafterwards that he founded in 2007, he explores various ways of expressing fashion unbounded by preconceived notions and based on the concept of “sharing the wonders of dressing up.” In 2009, he held his debut fashion show at the Arnhem Mode Biennale in the Netherlands. In 2015, he became the first Japanese designer to be nominated for the LVMH Prize. In addition to his work as a designer, he operates the school coconogacco as a place to experiment and learn about fashion expression. The school has graduated many designers and artists and in 2021 was awarded the Amiko Kujiraoka Prize at the 39th Mainichi Fashion Grand Prix. Yamagata’s recent major exhibitions include “Decoration Never Dies Anyway” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum in 2017, “Images of Asia” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum in 2019-20, “Fashion in Japan 1945-2020” at the National Art Center, Tokyo in 2021, and “Millet and Four Contemporary Artists” at the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art in 2023.

For the subtitle for this exhibition, Yamagata consciously chose the words “fashion design written with Yoshikazu Yamagata.” This stemmed from his desire for “the exhibition to be not merely a chronicle of writtenafterwards, but also a showcase of the future of fashion by including works of the next generation.”
With that goal in mind, this exhibition also provides opportunities for the study of fashion design through the following addenda, Volumes 1 to 4, which consist of a series of talks that explore the past, present and future of fashion expression using Yamagata’s works as clues.

Vol. 1: Interview with Yoshikazu Yamagata –”Is It Alright To Be Here? “
In this opening talk, the artist Yoshikazu Yamagata and the curator-in-charge Takenori Miyamoto discuss the developments that led to the exhibition.
Lecturer|Yoshikazu Yamagata and Takenori Miyamoto (curator of this exhibition and associate professor at Tokyo University of the Arts)
Venue|Arts Maebashi Studio
Capacity|40 people →[Application Form]
Admission|Free *Ticket required

Vol. 2: Clothes That Tell Stories
Miyako Ishiuchi has been photographing the clothes and belongings of deceased persons for many years, including Hiroshima hibakusha and Frida Kahlo, work from which Yoshikazu Yamagata has drawn inspiration. In this dialog, the two artists talk about the “stories” that clothing tell.
Lecturer|Miyako Ishiuchi (photographer) × Yoshikazu Yamagata
Venue|Arts Maebashi Studio
Capacity|40 people →[Application Form]
Admission|Free *Ticket required

Vol. 3: Silkworms and the Japanese Past and Present
Yamagata has a strong interest in sericulture and has incorporated it into his work. In this third dialogue, he and Akihiro Hatanaka, author of “Kaiko: Kenshi Wo Haku Mushi to Nihonjin” (Silkworms: silk thread-exuding insects and the Japanese) delve into the history and culture of silkworms and explore fashion as an extension of their life cycle.
Lecturer|Akihiro Hatanaka (folklorist) x Yoshikazu Yamagata
Venue|Arts Maebashi Studio
Capacity|40 people →[Application Form]
Admission|Free *Ticket required

Vol. 4: Fashion Education for Survival – From the Studios of coconogacco
Sixteen years have passed since the founding of coconogacco. In this session, panelists look back on the history of a school where students “explore the world and their own style of ‘dressing up’ while discussing the relevance of its methods in today’s world.
Lecturer|Yoshihiro Tanigawa (philosopher) x Seiran Tsuno (artist) x Yoshikazu Yamagata
Date|6/1 [sat] 6:10 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. *Registration begins at 5:40 p.m. at the Arts Maebashi 1F entrance.
Venue|Arts Maebashi Underground Gallery
Capacity|50 people →[Application Form]
Admission|Free *Ticket required