Updated: Feb 12, 2022
Photographs Courtesy of CFCL
In early September, Tokyo-based Yusuke Takahashi was announced as the winner of the prestigious Fashion Prize of Tokyo 2022. Takahashi has taken the international fashion world by storm with his brand CFCL, “Clothing For Contemporary Life,” and the label is gearing up for the February 2022 release of its third collection, “Knit-ware”.
Takahashi launched CFCL in 2020 after seven years as director of Issey Miyake menswear. His goal and mission for CFCL is two-fold -- designing comfortable contemporary apparel and doing it sustainably. CFCL features simple and modest unisex garments created with environmentally-friendly methods utilizing computer-generated materials.
In conversation with Surface, Takahashi explains, “We [CFCL] eliminate the designer’s ego and thoroughly address and propose the elements necessary for contemporary life (e.g., minimum waste, easy care, gender-free, timelessness, transparency of production processes, etc.).”
CFCL’s upcoming collection consists of computer-developed knitwear using certified, sustainable polyester yarns that are comfortable on any body shape, easy to maintain, and ethical for the environment.
The Vol. 3 Collection: ‘Knit-ware’
CFCL’s Vol. 3 “Knit-ware” collection features three prominent design styles -- lattice, oriel, and paper garter. The lattice design is inspired by the lattice wooden fences often found in gardens. The textured waffle structure of the lattice garments has a three-dimensional feel and is knitted with 100% recycled polyester. The lattice garments strike a balance between knitwear and breezy, translucent apparel suitable for spring and summer. In fact, the lattice line is composed of light, bright colors to invoke an uplifting feeling of positivity and youth.
Oriel is marked by an intricate knitted structure that mimics the appearance of numerous small windows on the garments. The fronts are made of thick yarn mixed with paper and virgin polyester, while the back is composed of recycled polyester and a three-color border. The oriel design is featured on sporty pullover V-necks and shorts.
Lastly, while the lattice and oriel styles featured a more obvious knitting pattern, the paper garter style is a solid, more simple design. CFCL developed an original yarn made of recycled polyester and wrapped paper around it to create this style, hence the name “paper garter.” Garments in this line are also less easy to wrinkle, as the dyed yarn is knitted with a dry-touch structure.
Creating sustainably and becoming a B Corp
The bright and neutral tones of this new collection from CFCL call to mind an almost nature-like return, the seasonal feel of spring and summer that recalls sunshine and the earth. This is an apt theme for the collection, as the label is one of fashion’s latest leaders in the journey towards earth-conscious production.
The signature look, design, and practice of CFCL is sustainability. “We’re helping to make people’s lives more comfortable by designing clothes that are environmentally friendly,” Takahashi says. The simple and modest nature of the latest collection exudes a feeling of comfort both in wearability and in its production.
One signature garment that accurately represents the sustainable practice and commitment of the label is the knit “pottery dress.” The dress, a different version of which has debuted in previous collections, is created through computer programming and made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Due to the material, the dress hardly wrinkles and can be washed in a household washing machine. Additionally, since it’s made directly from the yarn to the product, it generates almost no waste in the production process. Design-wise, the dress is stretchy, so it can be worn by any body type, including pregnant women.
The production process for the dress even accounts for one of the hardest-to-solve ethical problems in the fashion industry to date -- labor. “Most of the production process is automatic, so there’s no difference in production cost between countries with high and low labor costs,” Takahashi explains.
The entire production life cycle of CFCL is environmentally friendly, and there are few brands as genuinely green as CFCL. It is exciting to see how the label is revolutionizing the industry as it shows how fashion labels all over the world are capable of producing without leaving such harsh carbon footprints.
To help the Japanese and global effort at reaching carbon neutrality before 2050, CFCL is calculating the LCA (life-cycle assessment) of its garments and is on its way to B-corp certification. Being able to identify as a B-corporation means CFCL has been officially recognized for providing value for non-shareholding stakeholders, such as the environment. CFCL has certainly taken a big step in this direction, as its newest collection is made sustainably with zero waste, the automated production process does not infringe on labor rights, and the clothing is easy to maintain, avoiding costly care and maintenance.
CFCL issues in a new era of truly sustainable fashion. With its newest “Knit-ware” collection, it introduces innovative fashion-making methods to create contemporary and sophisticated garments. As seen with CFCL, it is quite possible to leave a fashionable footprint without a carbon footprint. Retailers carrying CFCL include Nordstrom, ISETAN, SKP, Galeries Lafayette, Tomorrowland, SSENSE.com and its own online site CFCL.jp.
The highly-anticipated release of CFCL VOL. 3 drops in February. “Buildings are the vessels within which we live, and windows are what connect inside and outside,” the brand’s slogan reads. What we choose to put on our bodies, then, is perhaps how we debut our souls to the world. And what better debut than one inspired by and for the earth?