This Japanese born designer has taken her love for minimalism and traditional Japanese garments to create the self-titled label Natsumi Zama. Featured on numerous online magazines and editorials, from a pattern maker turned freelance machinist to now futuristic fashion designer. Natsumi has studied at London’s University of Arts and Japan’s Bunka Fashion College making her approach to design truly something different. So we decided to pick her brain and find out more about the young designer and her emerging label,

Cloaked in white with Natsumi Zama’s 2→3 Collection

Cloaked in white with Natsumi Zama’s 2→3 Collection

All Images courtesy of Natsumi Zama

Describe your style in 1 sentence

NZ: Asexual and minimal, and aesthetic in daily life.

How did your love affair with fashion begin?

NZ: I just fell in to it. Becoming fashion designer has not been a lifelong dream.

Since my childhood, my interests are handicraft and drawing.  There was a toy knitting machine and a sewing machine in my house and I used to make things with them as a hobby in my teens.  When I graduated from high school, I still wanted to do something creative as a job in the future and decided to pursue studying clothes design.

Your graduate collection ‘2→3’ had an overwhelmingly positive response; did this add pressure for your next collection?

NZ: Actually, my graduate collection is ‘obi’, and the following collection is ‘2 -> 3’.

The collection ‘obi’ had a lot of positive response as it was chosen for the press show at London College of Fashion.  I did fell pressure to start the next collection at that time, but the situation also gave me an incentive for creation.

Compared with that, the collection ‘2 -> 3’ did not have a lot of immediate reactions, so I did not feel so much pressure for the next collection AW13.

The ‘2 -> 3’ was launched online only and did not have any exhibition or show.  It gradually got popular through magazines and blogs.  I appreciate that I still get inquiries about ‘2 -> 3’ and it is featured on some media.

Natsumi Zama’s AW14 Collection - image 2Natsumi Zama’s AW14 Collection

Natsumi Zama’s AW14 Collection

Style icons (alive or departed) you’d love to see wearing your outfits?

NZ: I have not thought about this and I do not have any particular image of person in my mind. When I design clothes, I imagine various generations of women (or sometimes even men) wearing my design, so I welcome a diverse range of models to wear my work adding a fresh dimension to the look.  I believe it is essential not to limit myself in this challenging world of design.

What do you do when you are not designing?

NZ: Going to an exhibition of my designer friends for spying purposes (she laughs). Seeing other designers creation always serves as a stimulus for my work.

When do you decide that a garment is completely finished?

NZ: It is when the customer wears the garment.  It is the time I savour my happiness of making clothes.

How would you describe your label to someone who hasn’t seen it before?

NZ: Natsumi Zama explores the essence of clothes as an entity other than fashion.  Through the clothing design, I search how the garment interacts with the body with fresh approach featuring simple and sophisticated style.  Each collection is inspired by minimalism and aesthetics in cloth itself and also has an essence of Japanese Traditional garments Kimono which makes my label timeless and asexual.

Natsumi Zama’s 2→3 Collection exudes timeless simplicity - image 1Natsumi Zama’s 2→3 Collection exudes timeless simplicity - image 2

Natsumi Zama’s 2→3 Collection exudes timeless simplicity

Your designs hold a desirable simplicity, what’s your designing secret?

NZ: Personally, I love simple design and minimalism. When I was a student, I had an opportunity to know minimal art in 60’s such as Robert Morris and Robert Ryman, and I was deeply inspired by them.

Another thing, when I construct a collection, I focus on not a vivid but a light colour palette to define a purist aesthetic of the simple detail.

Where do wish to see the Natsumi Zama label in the future?

NZ: I hope to see myself somewhere I desire to achieve.  Not any particular place, but at certain level that I have wanted to be at.  Place is not important; It’s about how much I fulfil myself as a designer.

Make sure to keep up to date with Natsumi via her online platforms:

Editor: Florence Bailey