“I want you to look at your closet and feel the memories and souls that have seeped into those clothes.”
His ‘Cannot Throw Away’ collection has a nostalgic patchwork feel and is centred on his own experiences and emotions. “I research events that have influenced me, I draw pictures of emotions and I build up the material from there,” he explains of his process. For example, inspired by his time as a medic, he added bandage pieces to the collection. “I wanted to portray the conflicting ideas of tightness and security by wrapping and covering my pieces with the bandages and gauze that I was familiar with growing up,” he says.
Despite the collection’s fantastical silhouettes and unusual construction, Tabata hopes that it is able to translate a sense of everyday realism. He sees fashion as something for everybody since, after all, everyone wears clothes from birth to death. He wants people to see through the highly imaginative designs and realise that, just like all clothes, they have their own story behind them. In this way, consumers might be encouraged to see the real value of clothing and understand the importance of repurposing fashion, instead of sending clothing to landfill. “I want you to look at your closet and feel the memories and souls that have seeped into those clothes,” he says.
As with most graduates during this time, Tabata’s design process was altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the disruptions, he found he missed being able to exchange ideas and inspiration with tutors and fellow students. On a practical level, it also meant that shops were forced to shut and so many of the materials he had planned to be in the collection did not arrive on time and so had to be altered last minute.