Foreword, or “Right, not everyone already knows who she is”
At the time of this interview, Kato Kuniko was the designer for beloved lolita fashion brand Metamorphose Temps de Fille. If you’ve ever heard a lolita talk about “Meta”, this is likely what they were referring to. Metamorphose has been admired for many things, but perhaps the most notable is their longstanding efforts to increase size inclusivity. While many Japanese brands have stuck to releasing one-size-fits-very-few garments*, Metamorphose has expanded sizing options in direct response to customer feedback. You love to see it, as the kids say.
*I’m sure many readers familiar with the fashion immediately thought of a certain brand that is extremely popular. Please know that this classic lolita is thinking of Innocent World. But yes, also that other brand. And a few others!
Kato Kuniko left Metamorphose in 2009, 4 years after this interview, and started the brand Physical Drop, in 2010.
Physical Drop is certainly not the lolita household name Metamorphose is. But the combination of her existing following, along with the continued commitment to size-inclusive garments, has made it one of the more popular ‘small brands’. You can check out their Instagram – see something you like? It might be available at international customer-friendly stockist Atelier Pierrot! They regularly post updates on their Instagram (like the one below) on what they have available.
(I’m not sponsored or anything, btw. I just know from experience people appreciate knowing where to buy things.)
As mentioned in an earlier post, this interview appeared in the June 2005 issue of Gothic Lolita & Punk Brand Book. Raine Dragon (whose blog you should visit, if you haven’t already) has pointed out in the past that some of these publications weren’t too great when it came to accurately reporting brand information. And some of that might not be entirely their fault – many fashion researchers, including noted lolita fashion theorist Novala Takemoto, have commented that brands often don’t keep historical records, let alone ones detailed enough to be of use to an archivist. However, there’s two reasons I feel confident in not having confidence in GLP’s case.
- They kinda suck at interviews.
- They misspelled the brand’s name. Twice.
Unsurprisingly, there’s not really anything of substance in this particular interview for them to get wrong. (Besides, you know, the name of the brand.) But I would be wary of any detailed reporting from them going forward.
Kato Kuniko of Metamorphose Temps de Fille
What’s wrong with using the term “collection”!?
Clothing that could be called a work of art, made without compromise
“N A plus H”
This detail-oriented brand, established in Kobe 7 years ago, started from the passionate feelings of Haraguchi-san, who had fallen in love with the designer’s creations: “These clothes are so wonderful, I want to sell them”
As you would expect from a brand name that means “transformation”, Metamorphose Temps de Fille offers clothing that, just by wearing it, gives you the ability to transform into a self different from the norm. We spoke to Kato-san, the designer who has created these wonderful designs. First, please tell us what led to you deciding on becoming a fashion designer. -Let’s see. At the very least, I thought I want to be able to work at a job that would pay the bills, and so I went to a fashion vocational school. Of course my thinking was that I wanted to make clothes. I see. So after you graduated from vocational school, you started a brand by yourself… What was the reasoning behind that? -To put it simply, there wasn’t a company that I wanted to work for. So I tried making a brand so that I could make the clothes I wanted to make. I see. Then, after that, you became the designer for Metamorphose Temps de Fille. -Yes. So, I’d like to ask about your design process. You’ve created many cute and lovely designs, but when does inspiration hit? -Hmm. Until recently it was mainly when riding the train, or traveling in general that ideas would come, but lately I’ve finally become able to think of things at my work desk, haha. Oh, is that so? haha -Yeah. Oh, but I have to take off my shoes or it won’t work, haha. I see, haha. You have a good sense of humor, don’t you? -Not at all, haha So then, what do you do when you can’t think of any good designs? -Honestly, that doesn’t really happen. Instead, what’s typical is I come up with too many items to put into production, and only about a fifth of the clothes end up being brought into reality. I’m sure there’s plenty of designers that would love to have that problem. -Yeah, probably. Along that note, as a designer, what is your concept or philosophy? -Hmmm. Definitely to not follow the crowd. Whether you get laughed at, or criticized, to make your own path forward! I see. That’s good advice for any readers who want to become designers, isn’t it. Well then, this is the last question. What would you like to make going forward, or what goals do you have for the future? -In a good way, I want to continue to make things that betray my current fans’ expectations. And then, future goals…if I start listing them out, there’ll be no end, haha, plus I kinda want to get married and quit working….It would be great if Meta could expand globally! Well, I guess, if we manage to stick around, that would be great!
Luckily for us, Kato did not ‘get married and quit working’, but did make good on all the other goals listed at the end here. Will I make good on translating the rest of these milquetoast interviews? We’ll see. As always, let me know over on my socials if there’s any one in particular you’d like to read!