FACTS about YKK.Founded by Tadao Yoswhida in 1934 in Tokyo, YKK stands for ( quite a mouthful) Yoshida Kogyo Yabushikikaisha (Yoshida Company Limited). Its various fastening solutions product lines include zippers, hook and loop tapes, press studs and rivets, plastic buckles, elastic tapes and webbing for various fashion applications, technical garments, furnishings, the automatic sector and leather goods. Annual production of zippers in YKK plants workwide now tops 2.5 million kilometres, that is equivalent to travelling 62.5 times around our planet earth. YKK employs some 40,000 people in 70 countries. Information and photos supplied by YKK France.
Saturday, 10 November 2012
YKK Zippers inspire fashion designers. Small things that make a big difference.
You probably don’t think much about them when you put on a pair of jeans, or a winter jacket. I'm referring to the Zipper which is perhaps one of the most useful inventions of modern times. Today, the humble zipper has been elevated to high fashion status due to new developments by the long-established Japanese company YKK which prides itself as “the designer of fastening solutions”.
While doing research on clothing accessories recently at the Modamont trade show in Paris, I found out how some fashion designers have been inspired for their new work by new YKK zippers.
Fournié is known for his folds, anatomic cutouts, ultra feminine drapes are spiced up with ground-breaking accessories such as silicon piping and zippers used for decoration to spur singular design. When designing this futuristic down jacket, he was on the lookout for a very shiny zipper to contrast with the matte black fabric he had chosen. He selected the Aquacheat® Coil Reverse zippers. The tape was lacquered with glossy black coating for a vinyl effect. YKK developed a size 15 Aquacheat® moulded injection fastening with this same vinyl aspect especially for this down jacket. And Fournié uses it as belt. The zipper had originally been designed for camping and outdoor markets, and has been recycled here.
Havinng worked with a number of top designers, including Jean- Paul Gaultier and Claude Montana to name but a couple, Fournié set up his own brand in 2009, and has collaborated with YKK since for custom made fastenings.
Fournié said of his partnership with YKK “ I have attempted to cast a fresh creative look on the products for the partnership to fuel new development ideas.”
Another creative mind recently worked with YKK is a young Belgian designer Xavier Brisoux who after studied design in Belgium, went on to obtain Masters in knits at the London-based Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. For his men’s and women’s collections, he designs knitwear with intricate details and finishings, using subtle colours to suit the rich fabrics selected, such as cashmere, silk, and wool.
This hooded cape by Brisoux (at right) is knitted as an all in one piece using “fléchage”, a complex finger knitting technique. The item is constructed like a cobweb in 100% cashmere, revolving around a focal point at the back, with a YKK Excella® size 2 zipper at the front. The jacket was inspired by Seventies leather jackets, reworked in double-sided jersey, for weight and structure. The softness and comfort of Merino wool confers a sense of balance. Pockets are underlined with an Excella® Curve zipper.
Brisoux says zippers are important features that need to fit in seamlessly with the design of the item, and need to be chosen carefully.
For the cape, the Excella® zipper, with its dainty teeth, which fitted the design to a T, with the soft cashmere and subtle colours. Observed Brisoux: “The amazing Excella® size 2 zipper is incredibly lightweight; I have found new avenues to explore.”
For several years, design has been at the core of YKK’s strategy, with its Research & Development laboratories developing new tools leading to collections of ground-breaking zippers, as well as backing young designers, as some examples seen above. Other designers who have been utilizing YKK’s latest technology include Jonathan & Fletcher, for sport and outdoor performance wear, and Fedor Georges Savchenko for luxury label Maison Moreau leather goods.
Lately, YKK has also worked with the Austrian crystal brand Swarovski® elements, in developing an invisible coil zipper with a pull-tab decorated with a sparkling, trapezium-shaped diamond-cut crystal. Thse special pulls are used in ladies’ wear and lingerie.
Another new product is the zipper in VISLON®Flat available in different sizes, featuring a pull-tab inlaid with genuine titanium fibres. Originally designed for technical applications, the VISLON® Flat features a flat design on the front side, and is ideal for sportswear and outdoor products as well as leather goods. The design is available in different metallic colours of gold, antique gold, silver and gunmetal.
If you would like more design inspirations from YKK, click HERE.