Appearing as ghostly cages that seem to float above the body, Seiran Tsuno’s designs are delicately abstract, distorting and disrupting the human form. By emphasizing the shoulders, chest, and thighs, there is a subtlety to his pieces: they don’t scream or yell, but sit quietly in their uniqueness.
Until recently, Tsuno worked as a designer and psychiatric nurse, and although the healthcare industry may seem far removed from fashion, in fact, her profession influenced much of her creative output. “My method of capturing people for fashion design is very much inspired by conversation with patients in the psychiatric hospital,” she explains.
In fact, it was when she was studying nursing at university that she became intrigued by fashion. “I had a lot of struggles and stress when I was a nursing student, which led me to do Shironuri (a Japanese subculture based on white face painting),” she says. “I would dress in excessive clothes and go out. It was my first experience of fashion saving me in my life.”
Later, she enrolled and graduated from one of the most eccentric fashion schools in Japan, Coconogacco, which literally translates to “school of individuality.” The designer explains that her time there made her deeply understand herself. “It was my precious time when I was able to meet some very impressive faculty and fellows. The process made me aware of my root and aware of my own special meaning created by my life,” she explains.
When it comes to creating the clothes themselves, Tsuno has some unconventional methods. Working with just 3D pens, it takes her and a team of five others about a week to make a finished dress.
Creating a base is the first step, which Tsuno then builds on using the 3D pens. As it rises, the strands of melted plastic ink solidify, before Tsuno removes the base. The result is a piece that has the delicacy of high jewelry, only in the form of a garment. “It is very important for me to do all my works by human hands. I think having the real texture of people is when we can feel the most impact,” he says.
Each finished item feels ephemeral, as if it might soon float away, which isn’t surprising given the concept behind it. wandering spirits collection. The idea was to create a “dress to communicate with the invisible world”. Derived from Japanese shamanic aesthetics, a religion characterized by the belief in a world shrouded in gods, demons, and ancestral spirits, the resulting offering saw it nominated as a finalist in Vogue ItalyThe 2018 ITS competition.
Another great inspiration for Tsuno is his grandmother. Seen modeling a blue and green dress on Instagram while having a cup of tea, the Japanese designer describes her as her muse. “She is the person I love most in the world,” she confirms.