News broke on Wednesday that the iconic Maison Kenzo has appointed Nigo as their next artistic director. With his impressive streetwear and industry credentials, this move is perhaps not as surprising as initial reactions suggest. We’re taking a look at Nigo’s career, and how it aligned with Kenzo to ensure this move made perfect sense.
Kenzo has enjoyed a long-standing, established reputation in the fashion world due to the success of Takada Kenzo, the brand’s founder and director who tragically passed away in October 2020, prompting innumerable heartfelt eulogies from the fashion industry and beyond. Bringing a Japanese influence to European fashion norms, the Kenzo tiger became an iconic emblem of the brand, even filtering all the way down to fast fashion. In 1993, Kenzo merged with the LVMH group and since then has enjoyed numerous collaborations. In the same year, Nigo started his career in fashion.
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Nigo is also no stranger to meaningful and successful collaborations. He launched iconic streetwear brand BAPE in the 90s, followed by cult-favourite Billionaire Boys Club with musician Pharrell in 2003. He didn’t stop there: in 2011 the creative entrepreneur launched his own brand, Human Made. Speaking on his new appointment, Nigo traces the parallels of his career with Takada Kenzo’s too, acknowledging that they both graduated from the same fashion school in Tokyo. With nearly 30 years of industry expertise and signature streetwear flair under his belt, it’s no surprise that LVMH matched the two up.
As well as formulating brand-building relationships, Nigo has recently collaborated with Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton, further rationalising the decision to bring him into the overarching fashion group. Perhaps most prominently though, Nigo’s appointment makes sense because of his personal respect for Takada Kenzo, and understanding of the Kenzo brand in general. Nigo is not here to reinvent the label, or as an empty clickbait hire – he is here to build upon the already established Kenzo reputation, bringing his wealth of experience with him. Indeed, the CEO of LVMH, Sidney Toledano stated that he is ‘convinced that the creativity and innovation of Nigo, as well as his attachment to the history of the House, will fully express all the potential of KENZO’. Nigo has concurred – saying that he is ‘proud to have been appointed Artistic Director’.
We can’t wait to see what he brings to the table in this exciting, yet not entirely unpredictable appointment.