Five Minutes With… Wataru Sato about his YKK exhibition


One week ago he have opened a new summer exhibition in our Shoreditch showroom dedicated to Wataru Sato, Japanese shoes designer and artist.

Shortly before the exhibition, we caught up with Sato san to discuss his Akaito collection, inspiration behind it and expectations from London exhibition.

What can we expect from your first exhibition in London?

Wataru Sato: “I’ll show my previous collection ‘Akaito’ and I have made some objects with interesting elements. These are related with ‘Akaito’ and it will help to increase the understanding of my collections back story. I have also used YKK product, as a creator material, it always inspired me.”

What made you want to be a footwear designer?

“I don’t know what actually, maybe because I didn’t want to be “a designer,” I just wanted to be “a shoemaker”, but I can’t stop designing, expressing my thoughts and feelings. And now I am.”

Your shoes have a futuristic and traditional Japanese quality about them – what inspires your designs?

“I am brimming with curiosity. Many things inspire me, especially from the culture. When I develop my design I always consider the form, which is making them look futuristic or something that I don’t imagine with human feet form. And, when I was a child, my grandmother always made or remade some clothes for me, that’s one source of starting my craft and how important it is for me.”

Each of your pieces looks very unique – how long does it take to craft your designs?  

“The time depends on the collection but for Akaito collection it was around two years. The reason why I had a gap from the previous collection and the previous one was quite good because I needed to make it better.”

What’s your relationship with YKK?

“Materials inspire me always. YKK creates fascinating materials for all creators including me. There are many interesting products in YKK and it stimulates me.”

Are there any collaborations or collection launches on the horizon?  

“I’m planning a new collection – it will be shown in November this year in Seoul.”

Who would be your dream collaboration with?

“I can’t think of any particular name now, but I want to collaborate with people from different genres, like a contemporary artist or novelist.”


The YKK x Wataru Sato exhibition is running from 1st July – 9th August at the YKK London Showroom on 154 Commercial Street.


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