Chitose Abe is the creative director of Sacai, a label she founded in 1998. Her designs, urban and sporty yet with delicate drapes and fabrics, counts fashion’s most influential figures as fans; Sarah Mower, Suzy Menkes, Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld have all publically expressed their support for the 15 year-old Japanese brand.
Abe owns 100 percent of her business, which allows her complete creative control and freedom to select any commercial considerations she chooses. “My collections are based purely on my creative instincts. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I am a firm believer that if you’re producing well-designed products at the right price that your business is destined to flourish.”
Sacai certainly seemed destined to flourish. In its second season overseas, Sacai had won over 15 clients outside of Japan, including Biffi in Milan, Colette in Paris and Joyce in Hong Kong. Today, the label has over 90 international stockists. Abe has also been able to expand horizontally into other fashion categories through her more streamlined Sacai Luck and Sacai Men’s lines.
Prior to founding Sacai, Abe worked at Comme des Garçons as a pattern cutter under Rei Kawakubo and later as a member of Junya Watanbe’s design team. Although trained at one of Japan’s most famous and storied design labels, Abe’s aesthetic elevates and simplifies that of her homeland to finely wrought classics. “Japanese-ness may be important for some when selling to Europe, for me it’s not important. I think it says something that I’m the only Japanese brand that many of my stockists carry.”
Abe is married to Junichi Abe, the founder and designer of Kolor.