Masahiro Nakagawa (born 1967, Shiga) teamed up with his partner LICA (b. 1967) while at art school in Osaka. They launched the label 20471120 in 1994, and established boutiques in Tokyo and Osaka the following year. They participated in the Tokyo Collections for the first time in Spring Summer 1995 . The 20471120 label (takes its name from the date Nakagawa believes something will happen) became known in the 1990s for its street wear and was popular with Tokyo's fashion conscious young.
In 1999 Nakagawa's work took on a different focus when he presented a collection with a recycling theme. Nakagawa gathered together clothes with associated meanings that belonged to fashion journalists and art professionals. After interviewing the owners about the memories attached to the garments, Nakagawa and his team set about taking apart and reassembling the garments. The recycled garments were then given back to their owners. To complement the project, Nakagawa created a number of manga characters that provided a storytelling role. Nakagawa says the project grew from his personal response to Tokyo's overwhelming consumer culture and the belief that frugality is the key to tackling Japan's plunging economy. His project critiques fashion and consumerism but he is also seeking to resuscitate some meaning between people and their possessions which he finds lacking in contemporary life.
The success of the first Recycle project has led onto a series of recycle projects with different themes. This dress was made for their spring summer 2000 collection, the fourth of the label's Tokyo Recycle project. For the fourth Tokyo Recycle project, presented as a millennium collection, UNIQLO garments were used to represent consumerism. UNIQLO is a Japanese manufacturer specialising in the mass production of cheap, functional clothes. In a dramatic fashion show these monotonous garments were transformed into a spectacular red dress in "a dramatic ritual celebrating the birth of a new woman in a new dress made with fragments of the dresses of identical clones, evoking a science fiction scene set in a society governed by a monolithic power". (ref 1)
The Tokyo recycle projects have led to various participations and collaborations with museums throughout the world, including the Powerhouse Museum in 2005.
The 20471120 label featured in the Powerhouse Museum's Fruits: Tokyo street style exhibition, see related 2003/118.
1. Midori Matsui, 'Masahiro Nakagawa; doors to a multi-faceted universe', Nakagawa-Sochi 20471120, Little More and co Ltd, Japan, 2004.
2. Louise Mitchell (ed), The cutting edge; fashion from Japan, Powerhouse Publishing, 2005, pages 76-77.