Denver Fashion Weekend (DFW) will be here before you know it with three nights of fashion, beauty and hair. The event will take place at Denver’s City Hall from November 10 through the 13. If you haven’t already, you can purchase your tickets here. On the night of Saturday, November 12, designer Kotomi Yoshida will present her latest collection as one of Denver’s most sought after designers.

A Japanese native and now a local of Denver, Yoshida began her career in the arts with little to no history with fashion. But as a lover of the arts, fashion wasn’t too far away from what she wanted to end up doing. Having shown at last year’s show, Yoshida is starting to get used to the pace of DFW. Her collection this year is titled “Puppet Master” and combines the cute with the creepy. We wanted to know more about Yoshida’s DFW plans, how she’s been preparing, and how the event has impacted her design career.

The designer (right.)

Kotomi Yoshida, (right) on shoot with a model.

303 MagazineTell us a bit more about your background in the fashion industry and design.

Kotomi Yoshida: People often ask me, “aren’t you afraid that might not work out?” I have a degree in art, nothing to do with fabrics or sewing. I don’t even know how to make a pattern of a garment. So I just think of a design I want to make, start cutting fabrics make it work based off the vague 3D imagination in my head.

I love every kind of art. I think I just happened to find a niche in fashion design because with fashion, there’s no such thing as a mistake. If I cut the skirt too short, or didn’t make the sleeves even, or didn’t have enough fabric and used a different one for the top, it doesn’t matter; none of those mistakes are considered a mishap. It makes it unique. And for being raised in Japan, that is a virtue.

303What do you think of the Denver fashion scene?

KY: It is definitely growing and it always has. Local designers here are living their lives doing what they’re good at. It is quite amazing. We really have a diverse group of designers in Denver, and we are all about the community. We support each other, raise money for good causes, educate the youth, and create positive forces through fashion.

303How has DFW changed the Denver fashion scene over the past 10 years?

KY: DFW definitely stabilized the local fashion scene. Many fashion shows have been very random, nobody was sure if this and that fashion show was happening when or not, but DFW has been pretty reliable every year. All the local fashionistas have something to look forward to, a big fashion party that is always quaint.

“DFW is always shocking every year. I can always expect the unexpected on the runway, which I adore. I consider fashion to be art, so I always look forward to something new and unexpected every year. And DFW is good at providing that to this city.” – Yoshida on DFW

Models in Yoshida's designs.

Models in Yoshida’s designs.

303What does this year’s involvement in DFW mean to you?

KY: It means lots of sewing. It means a lot of brain activity. I have to make something to go along with my last collection, something recognizable for the audience to go “did this designer present last year?” But yet, I need to make it slightly different too so that they don’t feel like they are watching the same show.

I rely on spontaneity with every collection, meaning my designs are always changing. So I’ve been practicing to make a true “collection” lately, and DFW gives me a great place for that. It lets my design become stable and trademarked with my name. I am hoping that eventually, the audience will remember my very foreign name and recognize my designs.

303: What can we expect from your collection this year for DFW?

KY: I named my collection “Puppet Master,” but it is cooler in Japanese “傀儡”(Kai-Rai, means puppets.) So let’s call it Kai-Rai. I like steam-punk, I like goth, so I wanted this to be somewhere in the middle. My Kai-Rai collection is dark, cute, creepy, funny, surreal, just all mixed up and somewhere in between. I could definitely go over this cliché of ‘Well you know, that is the way we all feel…’ but I don’t really wanna go there because my collection is not about that at all.

Everyone has an ability to find one’s own happy delusional state at any point of life, not about running away from the reality, but separating oneself from any social pains while living in the harmony with others. It is more like blending in as a good citizen instead of faking to be a good human. I am a Kai-Rai, I act like you, I talk like you, I am you.

303Anything else you’d like to add?

KY: DAM (Denver Art Museum) has been curating many excellent art shows based on fashion lately. Fashion has been a great representation of culture and history. I hope more people will realize how powerful fashion could be and stop wearing running pants and flip-flops everywhere.

My good friend Jonny Edward just made me a website. Please do visit if you get a chance; Thank you for this great opportunity and I am very excited for the show!


All Images provided by Kotomi Yoshida