Number (N)ine’s SS/AW 03 collection, ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’, represented Takahiro Miyashita’s personal expression of mental health battles, using longing song lyrics and heavily distressed knits and denim emblematic of the trying period the Tokyo designer endured leading up to the collection’s release.
“In 2003, I was on medication and I have no memories of that year, not of what I designed, or how the show was produced. I skipped one season that year. I am now piecing that year together from the memories of other people,” Miyashita said.
The references to grunge in his SS/AW 03 collection were innumerable: glasses, cardigans, and patchwork jeans appeared to have been snatched out of Kurt Cobain’s wardrobe.
The collection was named after Mudhoney’s 1988 debut single, and as is always the case with Miyashita’s work, the clothing emphasized the same individuality that drew fans to the grunge scene fifteen years before.
For a 2009 capsule collection, Number (N)ine called upon photographer Charles Peterson, considered the central documentarian of Seattle’s grunge scene, known for capturing the raw emotion and style of groups like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, along with the reckless energy of their shows.
Adapting Peterson’s iconic pictures into graphic prints, Number (N)ine printed textured fabrics which abstracted the famous images of crazed mosh pits.
“What sets us apart from older Japanese designers like Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto is that we are much more influenced by youth culture and, especially, music,” Undercover’s Jun Takahashi said of Miyashita.
It is clear that Miyashita’s modern relationship with music was an intended departure from the avant garde of Kawakubo or Yamamoto, but his work at Number (N)ine explores the same technical execution of his predecessors.