- by Alexander Joseph Kinczel
AN INHERITANCE OF NEEDLE AND THREAD
THE COSTUMES AND FASHION DESIGN OF SAORI MITOME
It takes two hours by train and bus from Tokyo to get to where Saori Mitome grew up, surrounded by the iconic cherry blossoms, rice fields and flower gardens of the Japanese countryside. Perhaps it was her upbringing around the patterns of gridded farmland and the delicate folds of pink flowers that would inspire similar themes in Saori’s costume design and sewing. Along with landscape for inspiration, Saori told us that sewing has been in her family for many generations “My grandmother was a self-taught seamstress back in the day. She was sent to Tokyo to earn all living expenses by herself in the early 1920s because her family faced financial difficulties and the society provided very limited educational opportunities for children. I was told this story from my mother and now every time I sew something for my design projects, or practice, I feel very relaxed and connected to my past and family.”
Costume Design for music band Les Sewing Sisters which Saori is also a part of. Lun*na Mehon on the right and Saori Mitome on the left
Saori started sewing when she was 8 years old, and she says it came automatically to her, a symptom of what she calls a “blood inheritance” from her grandmother for which she is very thankful. When she was a junior high school student, Saori watched a music video, and understood that her passion was to make one of a kind hand-crafted clothes and costumes that weren’t sold at the store and used in front of cameras. Her dream at the time was to be a fashion designer and a wardrobe stylist for her favorite bands. After living in the United States during an exchange program, she decided her dreams could be better realized if she were to immigrate.
Now, after many years of work she has her the job she wanted when she was a teen, she works on motion picture projects, as a wardrobe stylist and costumer, in Los Angeles. Saori has worked for TV commercials, feature films, TV series, and theatrical productions. Along with her work as a costume designer, she creates clothes as an independent fashion designer for up-coming showcasing and fashion contests. Saori’s list of projects is long and vast but most recognizably she has worked as a costume designer for music videos for the bands Illenium and Jon Bellion, as well as The Locust. She has also worked for the TV Series such as “Adam Ruins Everything”, along with the movies “Annabelle Comes Home” and the short and “Iman and the Light Warriors.”
Fashion flat sketch in black ink by Saori Mitome
From the countryside of Japan to the megalopolis of Los Angeles, from the sets of afro-futurist post-apocalyptic shorts to quirky comedy series to pop music videos, Saori Mitome draws inspiration from anywhere and makes unique and eye-catching clothes and costumes no matter the content or form. While Saori works behind the scenes, her art is at the forefront of things that many of us see and take for granted but which are so impeccably detailed and constructed that they, like the stitching in clothes, hold together the very fabric of our visual entertainment.