In Hiroaki Ohya’s Spring/Summer 2000 collection, the gap between clothes and narrative is bridged. As he explains: ‘Fashion should be more about stories and fantasies that transport us from the daily grind’. Through conceptual craftsmanship, Ohya creates a fashion story compact enough to be kept on a bookshelf.
Entitled The Wizard of Jeanz, the collection is made up of twenty one individual books, each chapter acting as a volume from the American literary classic The Wizard of Oz. These books ‘open and unfold like paper lanterns’ in a process reminiscent of the Japanese tradition of origami.
The Wizard of Oz fairy tale has proven to be timeless, occurring ‘once upon a time’ and having the everlasting ability to relate to the present day. It is this incessant relationship that Ohya wanted to encapsulate within the transformation of books to clothing. This idea was formulated whilst at a flea market in New York, where Ohya admired an old book and appreciated the resonance of storytelling on contemporary culture. Only twenty editions of The Wizard of Jeanz were created – a side step away from the ‘Made in China’ label attached to throw away garments of the ephemeral fashion world. Not only does Ohya give his admirers something they can keep forever, but also an enchanting escape into the world of fairy tale – the 'Land of Jeanz', a place far, far away over the rainbow...
Ohya’s work is currently being showcased at ‘Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion’ at the Barbican Art Gallery, London (15 October 2010-6 February 2011)