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How Brand Complement Each Other with Orthodoxy, Individuality?

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Orthodoxy, brand, individuality are connected with each other in the field of design (no matter it’s architecture, interior, fashion, graphic, pure art etc.), yet they are opposites sometimes. For instance, in the area of architecture, the social norm is: the architects who have a formal education in national famous universities are entrusted by the official to build a public architecture in the eye of a city. In the 1980s, a Japanese who designed a private house in Osaka, and this house was famous for “ it is designed by Tadao Ando, he was an boxer before”. He issued a different sound to the official system, i.e. orthodoxy.

Afterwards, he said, this architecture was built as informal building to reverse city and social. His design denies all the representation, and never obscure to show the pure individual character. The wisdom part of Tadao Ando specifically manifested in, He did not use “technology” as a weapon, besides, he created a brand of “Ando”. His architectures diffuse strong individuality, it’s just like the bag famous for Louis Vuitton. Later, the cities all over the world snap up those worldclass-brand design project, so all over the world appear constantly deja vu building scenery. Therefore, in my research, I will use five specific examples in different design field to figure out more deeply that how brand complement each other with orthodoxy and individuality. And by the end, we will know that brand, orthodoxy & individuality are closely connect with each other, even we can’’t split them off.

In the early stages of the globalization, there were only a few of brands that have great reputation monopolize the global market. This is the rule of the brand effect. Sometimes, the field of public architecture seeks the brand effect of design, too. The reason is that following and relying on famous brand is not only suitable for the range of personal business, in this era, orthodoxy management has to rely on it similarly, even the country. As the development of this situation, actually, official also prefer the recommendations of the brand —- This means that even the orthodox system began to yield to the brand effect, too.

For example, Tadao Ando profoundly know: it is no longer a problem no matter technique power or selling ability of large-scale enterprise, if you make sure a strong core of brand image. In order to create a brand image, Tadao Ando designed large amounts of projects for Fashion Boutique. In this process, he realized some essence of consumer civilization and he established his own “Ando” brand. He had even well prepared to create brand myth resolutely —- Never lost to any popular brands. As thus, Ando successfully led architecture from the orthodox route to personality route. He launched a powerful challenge to orthodox route.

Big project has great significance itself. To some extent, the project itself has the color of public due to the “big”. At the same time, for the fund raising, liberalization develop, individuation develop, too. Consequently, brand shows the effectiveness for making a compromise between orthodox management and personal business. In order to persuade numerous individual, there is nothing better than the most simple and easy way —- repeating the design scheme that has the social influence and has established already, i.e. brand. The real estate company, bank, insurance company etc, these projects are more big and the greater enterprise & group will join in.

For this case, more main bodies join in, and these projects need to rely on the already famous brand more to get the approval of public. Accordingly, more and more works from all over the world come together to famous brand designer. Without doubt, those designers will live up to the expectations of the public and complete the design project with public expectations. Yet the imagination of a person is limited as we know, it is impossible to design new things endlessly. Under the circumstances, even the most creative brand architects finally have to choose shortcut —- repeating the previous design they did before. Therefore, architecture loses creativity. Originally, the different design scheme should be done respectively according to different objects, different places, different conditions, but this kind of creativity, has disappeared.

We happen to live in such a particular time —- the transformation from orthodox management to personal business, live in this specific space time of this particular time. Even to present time, the “main body” of design is brand all the time. Famous brand architects repeat their existing design scheme constantly. Why brand is the “first”?

Is that good or not to believe brand is the first? And why orthodoxy & individuality have to rely on brand nowadays?

Through the statement above, it is obvious that brand is the first in architecture field today. Even though, it’s the only way out to develop the individuality which is tangible, effective, and spread gradually to other aspect. In the current research, therefore, I will analyze more about the relationship between brand and orthodoxy, individuality in architecture field and fashion design field in the part of discussion.

More specifically, I will list some of the famous architects & fashion designers who have a formal education in national famous universities, they are entrusted by the official to build a public architecture in the eye of a city. Definitely, they are really success in their field and they are the representative of orthodoxy; the others are the architects and fashion designers who never take the formal education in the traditional sense, but they have talent and they make great effort, finally they make achievement. Although they have obvious, different education background, the final result, or in the other words, the achievement is —- they create a unique brand for themselves.

In my method of research, for these great masters, certainly, I will list some of the magnum opus by them and make analysis for the reason what is the element to form a unique brand and why it is like this.

In my opinion, architecture is not supposed to be the repeated brand, and it should be the individual character, each design scheme can only be used once, this is the difference between architecture and other commodities. Yet, the existence of things that is reasonable. The large-scale architecture behavior still influenced by the brand effect, still conflict with the individuality, and there are plenty of constraint and limit. In the other design field, for example, the individual way of fashion design is not that difficult compare with architecture field. The reason why it is easier than architecture design is that the fashion design is a behavior which is more personal and “small-scale” behavior instead of a “large-scale” behavior. Additionally, the public color is not that strong than architecture. As a result, in fashion design field, definitely, it is easier to achieve individuality.

As outlined previously, there are two fields I would like to find more information to discuss. In these two fields —- architecture and fashion design, two architects be introduced, one is Tadao Ando I talked a lot before, one is Ieoh Ming Pei, commonly known as I. M. Pei, is a Chinese American architect. They are the typical representative of the individuality and orthodox. In fashion design field, I would like to introduce three Japan designers who are Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo. Similarly, they are the typical representative and they have the brand established by themselves.

In architecture/interior field
Tadao Ando
Tadao Ando was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1941. From ages 10 to 17 Ando spent his time mostly making wood models of ships, airplanes, and moulds, learning the craft from a carpenter whose shop was across the street from his home. 1962-1969, by his early twenties, Ando had decided on a self-directed course of architectural study that took him throughout Japan to visit temples, shrines, and tea houses, to Europe, Africa and to the United States. Ando has led a storied life, working as a truck driver and boxer prior to settling on the profession of architecture, despite never having taken formal training in the field. He was studying architecture by going to see actual buildings, and reading books about works of architects such as Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Kahn before returning to Osaka at the age of 28 to open his own studio, Tadao Ando Architect & Associates. Ando has been a visiting professor at Tokyo university, Yale, Harvard, and Columbia. (Related links: http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/ando.html) The Japanese religion and life style influenced him a lot in this design style in terms of architecture. His style in architecture is said to create “haiku” effect, and also emphasize the nothingness to represent the beauty of simplicity. Yet he likes to design architecture with complex spatial circulation while the appearance is simple.

Concrete almost become Ando’s signature. The idea of concrete wall with evenly located holes on it not only represents his style of simplicity but also becomes a very useful measurement for the construction. However, as his principle of cooperating architecture with nature, he chooses to use wood on human touchable surface such as floor, as a way to embody the most natural resource into the architecture.

Tadao Ando (2004)
The simplicity of his architecture emphasizes the concept of sensation and physical experiences, mainly influenced by the Japanese culture. A religious term, Zen, focuses on the concept of simplicity and more concentrate on the inner feeling rather than the appearance. The theory has vividly shown on Ando’s work and definitely become his style that distinguishes other outstanding architects in the world. In order to practice the idea of simplicity, Ando’s architecture is mostly constructed with concrete, which provides his architecture a sense of cleanness and weightiness at the same time. Due to the simplicity of the exterior, the construction and organization of the space are relatively potential in order to represents the aesthetic from sensation.

Besides Japanese religious architecture, Ando also designs Christian Churches, such as the Church of Light (1989) and the Church in Tarumi (1993). Although there are different characteristic between Japanese and Christian churches, Ando treats them with the similar strategy. In fact, there should be no difference for designing religious architecture and houses. He explains, “We do not need to differentiate one from the other. Dwelling in a house is not only a functional issue, but also a spiritual one. The house is the locus of mind, and the mind is the locus of god. Dwelling in a house is a search for the mind as the locus of god, just as one goes to church to search for god. An important role of the church is to enhance this sense of the spiritual. In a spiritual place, people find peach in their mind, as in their homeland”.

Church of Light, Osaka, Japan
courtesy of Tadao Ando Architect & Associates
Besides speaking the spirit of the architecture, the association between the nature and the architecture is also his architecture strategy. As an architect, Ando makes his architecture become a way for people to easily experience the spirit and the beauty of the nature through the architecture. He thinks architecture is responsible for performing the attitude of the site and then turning it into visible perceptions. This not only represents his theory of the role of architecture in the society but also shows the reason that he spends so much time studying architecture from his physical experience. (Related links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tadao_Ando)

From the discussion and analysis above, we can see the individual character of Ando clearly, and how he creates the brand by himself. (For more reference, please see the Reference chapter.)

I. M. Pei
The Chinese-born American architect Ieoh Ming Pei is one of the most prolific architects of our times, an architect who has incorporated both eastern and western ideas into his designs. His buildings are a testament to how the convergence of two great traditions, the Asian and the European, can create new aesthetic standards. (Related links: http://www.designboom.com/portrait/pei_index.html)

In fashion design field
Yohji Yamamoto
Yōji Yamamoto is a Japanese fashion designer based in Tokyo and Paris. He is among the master tailors whose work is thought to be of genius and has been described as probably the only designer you could name who has 60-year-olds who think he’s incredible and 17-year-olds who think he’s way cool. His more prestigious awards for his contributions to fashion include the Japanese Medal of Honor, the Ordre national du Mérite, the Royal Designer for Industry and the Master of Design award by Fashion Group International.

Yamamoto graduated from Keio University with a degree in law in 1966. His further studies in fashion design at Bunka Fashion College led to a degree in 1969. Yamamoto became an influential fashion designer after making his Paris debut in 1981. His commercially successful main line, Yohji Yamamoto (women/men) and the diffusion line Y’s, are especially popular in Tokyo. These two lines are also available at his flagship stores in New York, Paris, and Antwerp, and at high-end department stores worldwide. Yohji Yamamoto Inc. reported in 2007 that the sales of Yamamoto’s two main lines average above $100 million annually.

(Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yohji_Yamamoto)

Yamamoto is known for an avant-garde spirit in his clothing, frequently creating designs far removed from current trends. His signature oversized silhouettes in black often feature drapery in varying textures.

Yohji Yamamoto
In the clothes of Yohji, there have been a sentence which is really can express the brand spirit —- “Is there anything boring than wearing formally?”

Rei Kawakubo
Rei Kawakubo is a Japanese fashion designer, founder of Comme des Garçons. She is untrained as a fashion designer. Kawakubo worked in a textile company and began working as a freelance stylist in 1967. In 1973, she established her own company, Comme des Garçons Co. Ltd in Tokyo and opened up her first boutique in Tokyo in 1975. Starting out with women’s clothes, Kawakubo added a men’s line in 1978. Three years later, she started presenting her fashion lines in Paris each season, opening up a boutique in Paris in 1982.

Comme des Garçons specialises in anti-fashion, austere, sometimes deconstructed garments. During the 1980s, her garments were primarily in black, dark grey or white. The materials were often draped around the body and featured frayed, unfinished edges along with holes and a general asymmetrical shape. Challenging the established notions of beauty she created an uproar at her debut Paris fashion show where journalists labeled her clothes ‘Hiroshima chic’ amongst other things. Since the late 1980s her color palette has grown somewhat. (Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rei_Kawakubo)

Rei Kawakubo and her design

Issey Miyake
Issey Miyake, one of the Nihon’s most respected and well-known designers, refers to his designs not as clothing, or ready-to-wear ensembles, but rather art pieces. And why not? Many of the designs from Miyake et al are stunningly beautiful, but not the kind of thing you’d wear to the cricket, or even to dinner in some cases.

Issey Miyake thinks differently from the more orthodox designer. Hailing from Japan, most would expect him to create ‘art pieces’ with an oriental flavor. While he will do this – and still does. During the ’70s Miyake’s work was largely conceptual – he pioneered a vast array of techniques, many incorporating age-old Japanese traditions – but it was the during 1980s that Miyake stirred the soul of the masses. ( Related link: http://www.webwombat.com.au/lifestyle/fashion_beauty/miyake.htm)

Making use of natural fibre and other fabrics, painstakingly researched at the Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo, his designs became hugely successful, not just in high cultural circles, either.
Issey Miyake and his fashion works
Yohji, Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake, combine the western architecture design and Japan traditional costumes, they make the clothing is not only the cover of body, but becomes the communication link among the people who wearing clothes, body and designer’s spiritual meaning.

Nowadays, in our daily life, everything can’t live without brand. Food, clothes, furniture etc, those are the tangible things. Furthermore, the intangible things, like language, economic, IT, the word “brand” almost touch on every aspect of our daily life. And also, the architecture and fashion design, no matter it is “large” or “small”, orthodoxy or individuality, “brand” still is the centre word. After I made this research, I realize that everything exist already has the reason why it is there, i.e. existence namely reasonable, it is just like brand —- so many people really dislike it because of the repeated things, but why is it always there? And what is the relationship among brand, orthodoxy and individuality? I think you have an answer already after reading this research.


Defeated Architecture by Kengo Kuma,2008. ISBN 978-7-209-04351-9

Francesco Dal Co. Tadao Ando: Complete Works. Phaidon Press, 1997. ISBN 0-7148-3717-2

Kenneth Frampton. Tadao Ando: Buildings, Projects, Writings. Rizzoli International Publications, 1984. ISBN 0-8478-0547-6

Randall J. Van Vynckt. International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture. St. James Press, 1993. ISBN 1-55862-087-7

Masao Furuyama. “Tadao Ando”. Taschen, 2006. ISBN 978-3-8228-4895-1

Werner Blaser, “Tadao Ando, Architecktur der Stille, Architecture of silence” Birkhäuser, 2001. ISBN 3-7643-6448-3

Jin Baek, “Nothingness: Tadao Ando’s Christian Sacred Space”. Routledge, 2009. ISBN 978-0-415-47854-0

Diamonstein, Barbaralee. American Architecture Now. New York: Rizzoli, 1980. ISBN 0-8478-0329-5.

Heyer, Paul. Architects on Architecture: New Directions in America. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993. ISBN 0-442-01751-0.

Moeller, Gerard M. and Weeks, Christopher. AIA Guide to the Architecture of
Washington, D.C. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

von Boehm, Gero. Conversations with I.M. Pei: Light is the Key. Munich: Prestel, 2000. ISBN 3-7913-2176-5.

Wiseman, Carter. I.M. Pei: A Profile in American Architecture. New York: H.N. Abrams, 2001. ISBN 0-8109-3477-9.

http://www.yohjiyamamoto.co.jp/ Yohji’s official website

“Yamamoto’s Peace Project,” Vogue (London). 28 April 2008.

http://www.comme-des-garcons.com/ Comme des Garçons Company official web site by Fashion Designer Rei Kawakubo

http://www.infomat.com/whoswho/reikawakubo.html the biography of Fashion Designer Rei Kawakubo

“Rei Kawakubo”. Architecture Now! II. 2. Taschen. 2002. ISBN 978-3-8228-1594-6.

http://mds.isseymiyake.com/ official website of Issey Miyake

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/F2012RTW-ISMIYAKE article for Issey Miyake

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