The YKK London Showroom window display features a Japanese designer, Takafumi Arai

Nothing Is Impossible, 2018 collection

From 9th October until the 30th November we will present in our Showroom Japanese designer Takafumi Arai and his hand-made ‘with love’ shoe collection.

The designer’s main focus of the collection is a range of handcrafted footwear, each with unique designs and embracing different materials. Arai’s creative process took its beginning and has been inspired by his mother repairing family clothes by hand stitching without using sewing machines. Although the stitches were not perfect, they represented love for his family.

Archive, 2013 – 2017 

Following in his mother’s footsteps, Arai is now passionate about highlighting the power of love through his handmade pieces and the affectionate feeling they can bring, he says: “Through my shoe techniques I might be able to move someone’s heart. This is the feeling I always keep when creating.” After breaking his arm when starting to make the pieces, Arai compensated for the physical limitations by developing a new method where he did not need to be able to spread his arm widely to stitch the materials. This allowed him to combine one material with the other in a completely different way, enabling new details and designs.

After studying textiles at the Kuwasawa Design School, Arai has never formally studied the technique of shoe making, instead refining his techniques through self-education. He visited shoe factories around the world, learning how to make pieces with the right techniques and skills. His craftsmanship now is built on using a wide range of materials, making it by hand and ensuring all pieces have character. He is also committed to sustainable designs with unconventional ideas, using this process in all new design and collections.

He has exhibited worldwide at exhibitions including Denim Première Vision in Barcelona, 2014, Zetsumei Ten Exhibition at the Parco Museum in Tokyo, 2015 and in 2016 at the PARK・ING GINZA concept shop in Tokyo. Arai has also been a finalist at several eminent industry awards, winning the YKK Special Award in the International Talent Support 2014 competition, calling it his “greatest achievement.” Most recently, Arai was a finalist in the 2018 Bilbao International Art & Fashion Awards.

YKK Special Award in the International Talent Support 2014, winning piece

For additional information on Takafumi Arai please contact or follow @takafumi_arai on Instagram.


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