"A garment can transcend, giving it a soul.

I translate fabrics into soft and romantic silhouettes, using natural fabrics like silks and cottons, which are kind to the skin.

Distressing fabrics and alchemically treating them, gives the feeling of already ‘being loved’, thus evoking emotion. Even one-off fabrics found in flea markets can be given new life.

Richly embellished fabrics echo Eastern influences, and I have great respect for their traditions. Inspiration can be found from the past – re-using vintage textiles and sometimes creating replicas of them, incorporated with specific craftsmanship.

The number of hours someone has spent on manual work like this makes it priceless.

I see craftsmanship as an implement with which to realise one’s vision. Past, present and future; that slogan continues in almost everything around which my work evolves. Timeless beauty and femininity in my design is profound, in a way for the wearer to express their inner soul."


— Akira Isogawa


Akira Isogawa is one of Australia’s most iconic designers. Born in Kyoto Japan, Akira moved to Australia in 1986 where he studied fashion design at the Sydney Institute of Technology, drawing inspiration from contemporary Japanese design.

Since 1998, Akira has shown his collections in Paris, where he presents Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections to international buyers each year. He has achieved international recognition for his exquisite contemporary designs, which are sought after in every major fashion capital throughout the world.

Akira continues to maintain a strong presence in Sydney, where he has shown his Resort collections during Australian Fashion Week since 1996. He has four stand alone boutiques in Australia – in Woollahra and the Strand Arcade, Sydney; Fitzroy in Melbourne; and Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

Since being named Designer of the Year and Womenswear Designer of the Year at the Australian Fashion Industry Awards in 1999 Akira has received a string of awards. In 2007 Akira was awarded the inaugural Australian Fashion Laureate Award for his contribution to the Australian Fashion Industry. In 2006 Akira received the Award for Fashion Excellence. And, in 2005 he was honoured by Australia Post with his image appearing on an ‘Australian Legend’ commemorative postage stamp.

Akira’s work has been fondly embraced by the Australian arts sector. In 2004/05, Akira Isogawa: Printemps Été opened at the National Gallery of Victoria – the first solo fashion and textiles exhibition by an Australian fashion designer to be presented at a major national or state institution (touring thereafter in Singapore, Manila, and Bangkok). In 2003 the Sydney Festival staged an exhibition of his garment construction techniques at Object Gallery, creating the most successful show in the gallery’s history.  Akira has also been invited to exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art and twice has been included in the Powerhouse Museum’s Fashion of the Year retrospective.

Akira has designed costumes for four Sydney Dance Company productions – Salome, Air & Other Invisible Forces, Ellipse, Grand- and for the players in the Australian Chamber Orchestra. In addition, he spend eighteen months designing the costumes for  the Australian Ballet’s production of Graeme Murphy’s Romeo and Juliet, to tour the Sydney Opera House in December 2011. 

 

1993

Akira Isogawa boutique opens in Woollahra, Sydney

 

1994

Autumn/Winter 1994/95 Not Made In Japan presentation at Hogarth Galleries, Sydney

 

1995

Autumn/Winter 1995/96 Premier of The Pillowbook presentation at the Dendy Cinema, Sydney

 

1996

Spring/Summer 1996/97 New Generation Collection presented at Australian Fashion Week, Sydney

 

1997

Spring/Summer/Resort 1997/98 Satori presented at Australian Fashion Week, Sydney

 

1998

Fashion of the Year retrospective presented at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Collaboration with Sydney Dance Company designing costumes for Salome

Spring/Summer/Resort Botanica 1998/99 shown at Australian Fashion Week, Sydney and at the Royal Saint Honore, Paris

Seppelt Contemporary Art Award

Exhibitor at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

 

1999

Autumn/Winter Etheric Zest 1999/2000 presented at Tranoi, Paris

Spring/Summer/Resort High Spirit 1999/2000 presented at Australian Fashion Week, Sydney and Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Australian Designer of the Year and Womenswear Designer of the Year received at the Australian Fashion Industry Awards

Collaboration with Sydney Dance Company designing costumes for Air and Other Invisible Forces

Fashion of the Year retrospective exhibited at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Tokyo Vogue Exhibition exhibitor at the Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane

Premiere of Anna and the King presentation at The Dome, Fox Studios, Sydney

 

2000

Autumn/Winter Collection 2000/01 presented at Espace Commines, Paris

Melbourne Fashion Festival at the Royal Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne

Spring/Summer/Resort Metamorphosis 2000/01 presented at Australian Fashion Week, Sydney

Spring/Summer Collection 2001 presented at Rue Rambuteau, Paris

 

2001

Desire exhibitor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of the Arts for the Melbourne Fashion Festival, Melbourne

Autumn/Winter Collection 2001/02 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

MCA Unpacked exhibitor at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Australian Designers Collection at the Crown Casino, Melbourne

Melbourne Fashion Festival at the Royal Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne

Spring/Summer/Resort Light and Night 2001/02 presented at Australian Fashion Week, Sydney

Designed the performance outfits for the Australian Chamber Orchestra

Spring/Summer Collection Water Star 2002 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Akira Isogawa Exhibition, Object Gallery, Customs House, Sydney

 

2002

Autumn/Winter Collection 2002/03 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Melbourne Fashion Festival at the Royal Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne

Akira Isogawa Exhibition, Royal Melbourne Institute Technology, Melbourne

Sourcing The Muse Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Dressing & Dreaming Exhibition at Sherman Gallery, Sydney

Collaboration with Sydney Dance Company designing costumes for Ellipse

Spring/Summer/Resort Photo Session 2002/03 presented at Australian Fashion Week, Sydney

Australian Fashion & Textile Exhibition in Seoul, Korea

Spring/Summer Collection 2003 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

 

2003

Contribution of outfit to the Stratton Foundation

Salvador Dali Exhibition at Beacon Southgate, Melbourne

MAC Deck of Cards Exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, New York and the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

Autumn/Winter Collection 2003/04 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Melbourne Fashion Festival at the Royal Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne

Spring/Summer/Resort Collection 2003/04 presented at the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

Akira Customised Bonds T-shirts Exhibition at Bookstore Kinokuniya, Galleries Victoria, Sydney

Akira at Home exhibition at Orson & Blake, Surry Hills, Sydney

Contribution of outfit to the Australian Ballet Tutu Exhibition shown at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Un Wrapped Exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria

Twister Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Spring/Summer Collection 2004 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

10th Anniversary Japan Foundation Cultural Centre at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Designed new performance outfits for the Australian Chamber Orchestra

 

2004

Autumn/Winter Collection 2004/05 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Spring/Summer/Resort Collection 2004/05 presented at the University of Sydney, Sydney

Spring/Summer Collection 2005 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Gang of Five Event, Australian Embassy, Paris

Australian Ballet Tutu Exhibition travels to the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Akira Boutique opens in GPO Melbourne

Akira Printemps Été 2005 Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

2005

Honoured by Australia Post, Akira's image appeared on a commemorative Australian Legend postage stamp

Autumn/Winter Collection 2005/06 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Akira and Sydney Dance Company present a Special Event at Australian Fashion Week, Sydney

Collaboration with Sydney Dance Company designing costumes for Grand

Presentation in Australian Pavilion at World Expo 2005 in Nagoya, Japan

Akira Printemps Été 2005 Exhibition at the Singapore Arts House, Singapore

Best Australian Designer Prix De Marie Claire

Designer Rugs launch in Sydney, Melbourne

Spring/Summer Collection 2006 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Akira Boutique opens in The Strand Arcade, Sydney

 

2006

Akira becomes Honda Ambassador

Akira Printemps Été 2005 Exhibition at Ayala Museum in Manila, Philippines and The Queen's Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand

Autumn/Winter Collection 2006/07 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Melbourne Fashion Festival show with Australian Ballet School, Docklands, Melbourne

Spring/Summer/Resort Collection 2006/07 presented at the Jow Ga Kung Fu Academy, Sydney

Spring/Summer 2007 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Akira receives Award for Fashion Excellence at the National Retail Association Fashion Design Awards

Closet Tales of Australian Fashion – Akira airs on SBS TV, Australia

 

2007

Autumn/Winter Collection 2006/07 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Cara&Co Presentation in Moscow, Russia

Akira Printemps Été 2005 Exhibition at Lalit Kala Academy in Delhi, India and Prince of Wales Museum Mumbai, India

Spring/Summer/Resort Collection 2007/08 presented at Akira Design Studio, Sydney

Art In Reverse – Akira airs on ABC TV, Australia

Spring/Summer 2008 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Akira awarded inaugural Australian Fashion Laureate Award for his contribution to the Australian fashion industry

 

2008

Autumn/Winter Collection 2007/08 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Spring/Summer/Resort Collection 2008/09 presented at Australian Fashion Week, Sydney

Contribution of outfit to the exhibition celebrating the Little Black Dress shown at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Seamless: Where Costume Meets Dance Exhibition at the Arts Centre, Melbourne, includes costumes from Air and other Invisible Forces, Salome,Ellipse and Grand

Spring/Summer/Resort Collection 2008/09 presented at the Indonesian Fashion Festival, Jakarta Fashion Week, hosted by Femina Group, Indonesia

Akira's sequin gown worn by Rose Bryne for Jonathan Ogilvie's stylised vision of the 1920s – The Tender Hook opens in cinemas

Freestyle Exhibition presented at The Object Gallery and National Art School, Sydney; Melbourne Museum; Art Gallery of South Australia; QUT Art Museum, Brisbane; and Triennale, Milan

Spring/Summer 2009 presented at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Some of Akira's works included as a part of the Shibori Exhibition, held at L'Elaireur Boutique Paris

 

2009

As the new patron, Akira officially opens the premier fashion design institute, ESMOD Australia

Akira presented his Autumn/Winter 2009 Collection at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Akira officially opens the Contemporary Japanese Fashion: Gene Sherman Collection, at the Powerhouse Museum

New Akira Boutique opens in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

Printemps Été 2009 Collection launched at The Strand, Sydney

Hands that Shape Humanity Ambassador, Akira Isogawa creates an exquisite piece for the Limited Edition Artisan Collection launched at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week

A one-off cover is designed for the IKEA Kipplan, later auctioned for charity

Akira shows in Brisbane's fashion festival at City Hall

Akira shows in Melbourne's fashion festival at Town Hall

Akira designs new performance outfits for the Australian Chamber Orchestra

 

2010

Akira announced as an Australia Day Ambassador for the Opinion PeaceCampaign

Akira presented his Automne Hiver 2010 Collection at Rue Danielle Casanova, Paris

Akira announced as an Ambassador for the Protect our Coral Sea campaign.

A one-off dress is designed for Being Born Again in collaboration with artist Lindy Lee.

Akira presented his Resort 11 Collection at The Sherman Contemporary Art Gallery.

Akira Automne Hiver 2010 exhibited at The Japan Foundation

A one-off art piece is designed for the Synergy of Art and Fashion project / exhibition in collaboration with Cara & Co

Akira Meets Mr Johnston exhibition opens at The Johnston Collection in Melbourne.