Shunta Nakajima

Fashion designer

Transferred in 2nd year to ESMOD Paris from ESMOD Japon, and graduated from it in 2003. Worked for RAF SIMONS as an assistant designer based in Antwerp. After returned to Japan, worked for Mister Hollywood to get more experience. In 2015, with the concept of post Japonism, launched menswear brand “ALMOST BLACK” with Masaki Kawase. Organized the fist exposition in Paris 2020.

-You wanted to study in Paris from the very beginning.

I have wanted for a long time to live in other countries to be contact with different cultures. When I was a high school student, I was strongly impressed by a fashion show of RAF SIMONS mixing street style and mode style on television,and this is the reason why I decided to be a designer. I chose ESMOD because it has ESMOD Paris. I guessed going to Paris could be a step toward the life I longed for.

The first year in Japan was so hard that I don’t remember how it was anymore, but I learned various basics during the year and that’s why I was able to manage in Paris. Classmates were so multinational, and it was a really good experience to be in an international environment. I just saw many shows in Paris. I was just motivated and eager to absorb something of worldwide brands.

-You launched your own brand 12 years after your graduation.

I organized the first exposition in Paris a while ago and it was really impressing. I was really happy to independently hold it in the city where I studied and where many brands from all over the world gather. School life in contact with different cultures allowed me to take another look at Japanese culture which is my origin.

I hope to present not only unknown Japanese artists which are themes of ALMOSTBLACK, but also materials, sewing and other wonderfulness of Japanese manufacturing to the world. Then I feel Fashion is not something you can do alone. Seeing many buyers and journalists in expositions, dealing with good factories, all these things are thanks to my team. I strongly feel that we should value relationships with others.

-Could you tell me your perspective about current fashion industry?

We see serious scarcity of human capital now, so I want many people to be willing to start their career in this industry. But, how you are serious is always important in it. If you don’t have the passion, it’s difficult to continue. If you don’t really love fashion, I don’t recommend you this industry. In that kind of meaning, we can say that hardness of the classes and quantity of works in ESMOD is to see how you are mentally prepared to become a professional and how you are serious.

Teachers were very patient and strict with me and now I really appreciate it. In reality, my grades at the school were so bad. I was about to lose confidence many times, but my friend who share the same goal with me always encouraged me and allow me to maintain motivation. Therefore, I want to say “Bad grade at the school does not mean that you are bad”. If you have a big love for fashion, you should keep on trying without giving up.

-Please give a message to people who want to work in fashion industry!

If you love fashion, I recommend you to firstly start studying in ESMOD without hesitation. Even if you think “Why are there so many classes like this?” or “It’s impossible to finish that many homework!”, you can manage it by doing your best to catch up the classes. All what you do is for you, so there are never things you don’t have to do. This is what I want to say to myself by going back to school days.