Having begun his career as an apprentice pattern-maker at Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe quickly established himself as a distinguished talent, boasting an avant-garde design aesthetic and becoming an unofficial protégé to the iconic Rei Kawakubo. Following the launch of his namesake label under the Comme des Garcons umbrella, the prolific designer garnered international critical acclaim for his mastery in conceptual designs, pattern manipulation and innovative use of synthetic materials. Launched in 1992, Watanabe presented his first collection in Paris in 1993, adding a menswear line in 2005.
Hailing from Fukushima in central Japan, Watanabe attended the world renowned Bunka Fashion Institute in Tokyo - the alma mater of designers such as Yohji Yamamoto and Kenzo Takada- graduating in 1984. Having joined Comme des Garcon’s shortly after, Watanabe worked his way steadily upwards and in 1987 was named as design director of the Tricot knitwear line, holding the position until 1992.