“Are you okay?”  That’s not a question that’s not likely to appear on a garment, much less encased in resin-moulded buttons.  In a twee-filled, jolly-ridden, ultra-polite Selvedge Fair, held at Bath’s American Museum, these buttons stood out.  In fact, Minus Sun’s entire stall stood out.  Then coincidences of coincidences, turns out designer Yuka Maeda worked for a little while for my cousin Elizabeth Lau, when she was still based in London.

Minus Sun is character-driven label, where clothes are there to further a narrative rather than be the sole focal point.  That’s not to say they’re not lovely.  Maeda injects the daintiest of handcrafted details – so minute – that pictures almost certainly don’t do them justice.  But at the centre of Minus Sun is the “girl”.  She hates the sun.  She seduces onlookers with her innocence as beneath all that crochet, cross-stitching and kawaii cute detailing, there’s something darker and more fetishistic. lurking.  Facets of Minus Sun remind me of Japanese cult label Keisuke Kanda with his proccupation with Japanese adolescence and the sartorial accoutrements, which go with Japanese teendom.

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Here is Maeda’s assistan wearing a Minus Sun tabard uniform.

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It started with Maeda’s MA project for her fashion degree at Kingston where she handmade a story book which told the tale of ten girls.  One is controlling.  Another is suicidal.  Then one appears to be passive, self-conscious or sensuous.  They’re of course all facets of one girl.  But Maeda picks out outfits for each characteristic, dressing them up with a uniform of sorts.  The clothes themselves are storied too playing off something innocent against something decidedly sexy.  For ever peter pan collar, A-line shift shape, there are open-back dresses revealing frilled knickers or pleated skirts that are meant to be hiked up.  The overall message though is to seduce, not by overpowering you with silhouette, print or colour but to ask viewers to see something up close and fall that little bit in love.

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Maeda carried on her Minus Sun project as she plunged her next book into the dark.  It’s a prequel as it were with the same characters embroiled in a sun-fearing episode where they all get up to no good at night.  The clothes are similarly dark as Maeda plunges her linens and cottons in black, adding details like lunar eclipse embroideries and yellow stitches that resemble stars.

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Maeda is currently showcasing her work by regularly taking Minus Sun on the craft fair circuit and you can contact her through her website for custom orders of her pieces (she will take measurements and adjust colours to your liking).  It’s true that her work fits into that world with her penchant for handcrafted detailing but at the same time, there’s something intriguing about her work as an art form.  She’s using clothing and craft as a dialogue to draw out a fantasy world inhabited by these “girls” of her dreams.  She’s also investigating the relationship between clothing and personality traits and a more nuanced side to what it means to be seductive.  There’s a lot to be read into but for most onlookers, they’re also likely to fall hard for a crochet-trimmed matching bra and panty set or indeed the buttons that read “Are you okay?”  Actually come to think of it, in a self-centred society, that question in itself is a calling card for Minus Sun’s thoughtful and thought-provoking work. 

Comments (14)

  1. Humaira says:

    Probably most cutest collection I have just seen in this post!!
    OMG!!! Love.. Love.. every bit of it. Those cross stitch shorts are so good!!
    Love it!

  2. sasa says:

    These are so cute!

    Shall We Sasa

  3. It’s too cute, smart but in an ancient way!!
    XOX, Gap.
    http://www.gaptoothedgirl.com

  4. Paige says:

    wow this is literally awesome. the concept behind this is true art i love it ^.^ im currently in my final year of my degree studying fashion and im making a catwalk capsule collection atm and seeing ideas like this inspire me to push personalities and personas into my work ^.^
    x
    http://www.coralpaiges.blogspot.co.uk

  5. Amelie says:

    The gifs of the notebooks are so lovely!

    http://www.theindigomoods.blogspot.com

  6. totally agree with all other comments! super cool and super cute!
    Yuka Maeda is very talented. And the book! A piece of art. Well, every piece is an art, but the book stands out.
    Thanks for sharing the story!

    http://dushonok.com/

  7. kayla says:

    Amazing, so adorable

  8. Alice says:

    Loved these unique pieces! My faves were the buttons!
    http://fashion-soup.com/

  9. Sasha says:

    This is incredible, such a cute interesting use of embroidery. It’s so interesting and original

    LOVE

    Sasha
    http://www.par-la-mode.blogspot.com

  10. Suzi Maynard says:

    Susie, stunning, stunning, stunning. Loved this so much. Your photography is amazing and I just love the cute lingerie!
    Love Suzi xx
    For the Love of Audrey

  11. This looks amazing, great collections

    Chic Red

  12. Michelle says:

    WOW so beautiful !

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