It was last spring when Ayaka Nakagawa conceived the concept for her final collection. Forced to slow down amid the outbreak of COVID-19, the Print Design student began to examine the minutiae and the mundane. The degradé paintwork of a door stripped by sunlight and the fallen blossoms trodden into the pavement observed on her daily, government sanctioned, walks became to Nakagawa ‘much more beautiful then, than in their original form.’

Ruminating on the beauty of the imperfections she now noticed in the everyday, Nakagawa, who is from Chiba, Japan, reconciled it with the concept of Wabi-sabi – a cultural acceptance of the transience and irregularity of beauty – in her home country.  And so her collection took shape: chinoiserie printed scuba jumpsuits ‘cracked’ and ‘repaired’ by Nakagaya with flat metal staples; dresses designed with the idea of peeling wallpaper and over-stuffed sofas in mind. Exposed skin, visible through the cracks and gaps in the garments mean ‘different people perceive my clothes in different ways’ when they are worn, a sentiment the thoughtful designer favours.

Having lived in London for seven years, following her graduation Nakagawa intends to return to her hometown, which, situated near Tokyo’s Disneyland, presents an interesting opportunity to analyse the ideas of simulated ‘perfection’ in her future design work. Aside from that though, Nakagawa plans to ‘create an environment to support young designers, artists and their work, and to create opportunities for others’ by launching a PR start-up.

Jess Worth, BA Fashion Journalism