Interview: Yukinori Maeda of Cosmic Wonder

A conversation with Cosmic Wonder - Perfect geometric harmony with the universe.

Cosmic Wonder, initiated in 1997 by artist Yukinori Maeda, is a conceptual project composed of clothing, artwork, publishing and performance.

Cosmic Wonder has deepened its exploration of natural materials, working with a sustainable vision that looks both ahead and to the past. The process of infusing handicrafts with traditional Japanese techniques is a way of finding beauty in the continuity between the future and a past that we are at risk of losing.

Cosmic Wonder is one of my all time favorite brands/art projects;  I have always admired their methods, their ethos, and have developed a profound respect of their manufacturing process.

I recently had the great pleasure to speak with Yukinori Maeda and discuss the process, project, and the journey of Cosmic Wonder.

What are some of your favorite memories from the journey?

Yukinori Maeda: We had the one important journey – we came to the Earth from the universe.


Who are you designing for?

YM: I’m designing for those who love Cosmic Wonder.

Cosmic Wonderを愛する人のためにデザインをしています。

Over the decades has this changed?

YM: It has changed with the evolution of the Earth.

How do you make choices regarding materials used in collections?

YM: I choose materials that are produced through the beautiful process.
Particularly, hand-spun natural cotton, organic cotton, organic linen, hemp, ramie (choma), mountain wool, silk, vegetable tanned leather, and white tanned leather rubbed with salt, etc. I also like to use vegetable dyes and sumi-dyed gray for these materials.





Existing materials vs making new materials?
今まで使ってきている素材 と あたらしく出会った素材では? 何か違いがありますか?

YM: I like natural fabric very much now. Natural fabric is a textile that is made out of grass fibers or wood fibers by weaving. Fabrics from grass include hemp (taima), ramie (choma or karamushi), arrowroot (kudzu), and Japanese fiber banana (bashou).
Fabrics from wood include Japanese linden (shina), Manchurian Elm (ohyou), wisteria (fuji), and mulberry (kaji or kouzo).

Although each production is different, the process begins with mowing plants, then stripping off the bark, getting rid of lye, fermenting, carefully removing fibers, twining (itoumi), and finally weaving on a loom.

In the past, people used to make such fabric on the side of working in the fields. In our performance of the 20th anniversary Ryugu koromo from Genshi-fu; we produced clothes made of such fabric.








20周年記念のパフォーマンス「竜宮衣 原始ノ布」はそのような布による衣裳を制作しました。

What is the silhouette and cut of clothing that Cosmic Wonder is aiming for?  

Cosmic Wonderが目指している衣のシルエットやカッティングはどのようなものでしょうか。

YM: We keep a space in mind. We aim for clothes that resound beautifully in our space.



What is interplay between Yukinori Maeda’s art practice and the Cosmic Wonder collection? Yukinori Maeda'sの芸術活動の実践とCosmic Wonderのコレクションとの相互作用は何でしょうか。

YM: It allows us to contemplate the universe and experiment the impact on a space.


Could you walk us through the role of light, water, fire and the basic elements in Cosmic Wonder?

Cosmic Wonderにおける光と水、火の基本的なエレメンツの役割を教えていただけますか。

YM: In particular, it is to pour light on those made of wood, earth, water, fire, wind, gold, and so on.


What is the role of collaboration in Cosmic Wonder’s process?  

Cosmic Wonderのプロセスの中でコラボレーションの役割は何でしょうか。

YM: It is to provide the pleasure of discovering the beauty of the universe from multiple perspectives.


Some of my favorite projects are the photobooks with Takashi Homma and I’m curious how you develop these collaborations.

私がフェイバリットなプロジェクトの幾つかはTahashi Hommaと行うプロジェクトです。


YM: Each time a project is born as if something is unloaded. A liberal, experimental atmosphere flows at times. The project with Takashi Homma is particularly special to us.




What is the interplay between the Cosmic Wonder clothing and the larger installations, art pieces, and events?


YM: The interplay of each element and concept of clothing, installation art, and performances creates the enhanced whole, which allows us to perceive the beautiful universe.



What is the interplay between the past and the future for Cosmic Wonder?

Cosmic Wonderにとって過去と未来の相互作用は何でしょうか。

YM: It allows us to recognize that everything flows simultaneously.


What do the next 20 years hold for Cosmic Wonder?

Cosmic Wonderとって、これからの20年何を抱いていきますか?

YM: We will perfect geometric designs to bring us into harmony with the universe.


All images via Cosmic Wonder

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