Rei Kawakubo is a Japanese designer and founder of COMME des GARÇONS. Having studied literature in at Keio University, Kawakubo worked at a textiles factory after graduating, and by 1967 she had become a freelance stylist.
Two years later, Kawakubo began designing clothes under the name “comme des garcons.” Due to the popularity of the clothes in Japan, Kawakubo incorporated the brand and COMME des GARÇONS was born. Throughout the ‘70s, Kawakubo would refine her aesthetic and grow her company, before eventually debuting her designs at 1981 Paris Fashion Week.
In 2003, Kawakubo married Adrian Joffe, at the time, the commercial director for CDG. Eventually he became the president of the company and worked on international expansion, helping the company turn over $220 million USD a year. In addition to the design and creation aspects of the label, Kawakubo oversees all aspects of her company including graphic design, advertising and shop interiors.
Kawakubo is notoriously press-shy, wishing for her creations to speak for themselves. However, Kawakubo’s anti-fashion and boundary-defying designs have inspired many newer designers, such as Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester.
Kawakubo also served as mentor to Junya Watanabe, whose eponymous line is produced under COMME des GARÇONS.