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Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake dies

Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake has died aged 84, local media has said.

Miyake died of liver cancer last Friday, the Kyodo news agency reported.

He was best known for producing the signature black turtleneck of his friend and the Apple founder Steve Jobs.

He is said to have wanted to become either a dancer or an athlete. However, reading his sister’s fashion magazines inspired him to change direction.

Miyake shot to fame with his designs incorporating cutting-edge silhouettes and pleated fabrics in a career spanning more than half a century.

Born in Hiroshima in 1938, Miyake was seven years old when the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city in August 1945, during the Second World War.

He was in a school classroom at the time and survived the bombing – reluctant to speak of the event until later in life.

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In a July 2009 New York Times opinion piece, as part of a campaign to get then-US President Barack Obama to visit the city, he wrote: “When I close my eyes, I still see things no one should ever experience: a bright red light, the black cloud soon after, people running in every direction trying desperately to escape – I remember it all.

“Within three years, my mother died from radiation exposure.”

Since his is experiences that day, he said he preferred to “think of things that can be created, not destroyed, and that bring beauty and joy”.

“I gravitated toward the field of clothing design, partly because it is a creative format that is modern and optimistic.”

He said he did not want to be labelled as “the designer who survived the atomic bomb”.

Miyake studied graphic design at a Tokyo art university and went on to learn clothing design in Paris, where he worked with famed fashion designers Guy Laroche and Hubert de Givenchy, before heading to New York.

He returned to Tokyo in 1970 and founded the Miyake Design Studio.

His creations expanded to include bags, watches and fragrances before essentially retiring in 1997 to devote himself to research.

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