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Born in Osaka, Japan, Elie  relocated after graduating from university to New York to begin a career as a freelance fashion writer. After spending four years there and contributing to Japanese media outlets, Elie moved to Paris in 2016. She now interviews designers and covers various fashion weeks across the globe.

Contributor: Adam Katz Sinding


How did your fashion career begin?

I moved to New York, where a photographer I met introduced me to editors from Japanese media. After working with those editors a few times, they introduced me to other editors, and then to more editors.  Gradually, I built connections and was able to support myself through this work.  While living abroad, I had wanted to work in my native language, Japanese, so it really feels like a dream come true. I think it was lucky chance that brought it on.


Did you always see yourself heading in that direction?

I found myself in a state where I couldn't see the future or where I was heading, but I've reached the present with a "go with the flow" mentality. Even now, I don't dwell too much on where I'm going. I focus on the present moment, giving my all to what's in front of me, striving to meet the expectations of those who seek me, and being sincere to others. I believe that if I do these things, life will guide me in the right direction. If I hadn't had this lucky chance, perhaps I would have become a nurse in Japan, given that many in my family are in the medical field. I actually like nurse uniforms, so that option wouldn't have been too bad either. Basically, I'm just happy as long as I can dress in my favorite clothes every day.

Any experiences or individuals that had a lasting impact on your career?

Since my teenage years, I've enjoyed reading interviews with designers and deeply analyzed reviews of collections by fashion journalists. While there are many journalists out there, Vanessa Friedman from The New York Times and Kaname Murakami, the editor-in-chief of WWD JAPAN stand out for me. I've been continually impressed by their sharp perspectives and extensive knowledge in deciphering the current era through the filter of fashion. Additionally, I've been inspired by the unwavering professionalism of Kazufumi Otsuka, the deputy editor-in-chief of WWD JAPAN, as we've worked together as a team covering men's fashion weeks.   

On the other hand, I've experienced working with someone whom I couldn't respect both as a person and in their approach to work. This person was always gossiping, judging, adjusting their attitude [to] others based on their titles and being concerned with status. Working with such a person not only made it difficult for me to find value in the work but also prevented me from performing at my best. Since then, I've made a conscious decision to only work with people I respect, and I'm currently living up to that decision. My greatest motivation in my work is seeing satisfaction in my work partners. When I work with someone I respect and trust, I find myself capable of pushing beyond my physical and mental limits, and perhaps this has contributed to shaping my career.

Where do you draw creativity or inspiration from? 

I don't consider my work to be creative. Instead, I feel I need to cultivate a more logical and analytical mindset. I’m naturally inclined towards rich sensitivity and imaginative thinking, so I read more to develop my ability to explain it in words than for creativity. This inclination stems from personal interest, where I delve into subjects seemingly unrelated to fashion, such as physics, quantum mechanics, psychology, and astronomy. Surprisingly, these diverse interests often unintentionally contribute to my work. Museums also serve as places that offer a variety of ideas, particularly exhibitions on Surrealism from the 1920s, which I always visit. Additionally, I enjoy taking walks in Luxembourg Gardens near my home, sitting on benches, and observing people. Of course, inspiration can also be found while traveling to different destinations.


Having seen the industry from the US and European perspective, thoughts on emerging themes or shifts within fashion culture?

Fashion is often said to be about self-expression, but recently, it seems to have shifted to being about self-affirmation. "Self-expression" is something done in relation to others or society, whereas "self-affirmation" is something done for oneself. It's about affirming and embracing oneself, saying "I am okay with this." With the pandemic causing a halt in our interactions with the outside world, our consciousness has turned inward, towards ourselves. I believe that such a shift in collective consciousness is also reflected in fashion. "Self-affirmation" is not narcissistic; rather, by affirming and loving oneself, it creates space in the heart, leading to greater tolerance towards others in a positive cycle.

Most memorable show or collection

SS23 collection for Gucci, the last show by Alessandro Michele, featuring twin models. I received the message: "Each person is original and unique. You are irreplaceable and invaluable." Tears wouldn't stop, and I cried in my seat like a baby. Even when I argue with my boyfriend, I don't cry like that in public. It was a soul-stirring show, and one I'll never forget.

I believe Jonathan Anderson of LOEWE and JW Anderson is a designer who masterfully translates the Zeitgeist into fashion. He shows us the psychology, consciousness, and where we are heading. For me, his collections are indispensable for summarizing each season. And at the same time, his shows provide such an incredible sense of euphoria that it feels like experiencing an orgasm.

Prada also presents wonderful creations that express the Zeitgeist. What sets them apart slightly from LOEWE and JW Anderson, as mentioned above, is that they include more realistic elements such as politics and economics.

Interestingly, humans are not very good at self-awareness of their own psychological states. When watching Prada, LOEWE, and JW Anderson’s shows, which bring out the psychology lurking deep within the human mind, I often find myself realizing, "Is this my current psychological state?"

Connect with Elie on Instagram



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