Intro to Japanese Fashion

Japan House is excited to offer a new online course starting Spring 2023 taught by Alice Yumi Sinzato: ARTJ 299: Intro to Japanese Fashion. This course provides an overview of Japanese Fashion. Students will be introduced to core concepts of Japanese aesthetics and learn about their application from traditional garments all the way to the creations of avant-garde fashion designers. The course goal is to explore how Japanese aesthetics permeate Japanese fashion in all its manifestations like traditional costume, street fashion styles and runway fashion. Students will learn about how Japanese fashion influenced the fashion world in general, investigating what gives these designs a distinctively Japanese point of view. The visual and conceptual aspects of Japanese fashion will become a tool and source of inspiration for creative assignments.

What you’ll do

Students will gain a window into design and aesthetic principles that differ from Western ideals through lectures, discussions, and assigned projects. Students will learn about the difference between traditional costume and fashion, and how they can relate to one another. Students will then review core concepts in Japanese aesthetics that can be relevant to analyzing Japanese fashion. This course will give you the opportunity to analyze fashion in a scholarly manner, using both theoretical and visual tools. We will discuss three main manifestations of fashion in Japan: traditional costume, street fashion and fashion designers. Getting to know these different ways of making fashion can expand your own ideas around design, fashion and personal style.

What You’ll Learn

Students will learn to identify the difference between costume and fashion, recognizing how these boundaries can be blurred at times; describe and analyze Japanese aesthetic principles in Japanese fashion; critically evaluate academic readings related to fashion; identify and explain basic upcycling techniques used for fashion and also in daily life in Japan; and contribute their perspective during discussions.


Open to all students, no restrictions

Class Schedule

This 3 credit hour class meets twice a week online from 3:30PM - 4:50PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the whole semester. It is a synchronous online course.

Meet the Instructor

Alice Yumi Sinzato is a Brazilian artist and fashion designer currently based in the United States. She considers her Brazilian identity and Japanese heritage as sources of inspiration for her aesthetic sensibility. She works in many different mediums like painting, collage, and clothing. Her main interests are landscape, the relationship of body with objects and the environment, and symbolism. In her collages, she turns magazine cut-outs into imaginary scenes and places. This abstraction of the landscape also appears in illustrations and paintings. She holds a Master’s degree in Visual Arts - Contemporary Artistic Processes (University of Santa Catarina, Brazil) and Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design (University of Santa Catarina, Brazil). In 2012-13, Sinzato recieved a full scholarship through JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) for the Garment Creation Specialization Course (Bunka Fukusou Gakuen, Japan). She has taught courses in fashion, including but not limited to her 2019-2022 projects with Susan Becker for the creation of class materials and resources for online classes in croqui drawing, draping and experimental fashion for Fashion Design for the University of Illinois.