Talk with Aska Yamashita, Artistic Director of Atelier Montex, and President of the Accessories Jury
If you had to sum up the Hyères Festival in three words, what would they be ?
Innovative, creative and (very) varied.
What do you look for in talent as a jury ?
A pretty strong identity. We want to feel like the person has a world of their own that they manage to take us all into.
What are some aspects that you were taught, going into this profession, that you think should be endured by young people, those ultimately who need to kind of break the boxes ?
For a profession that is very technical, I would advise young people not to lock themselves into the technique, rather to feel quite free in expression. Embroidery is technical, but when you don't have technical constraints, you can have a real gesture, a real expression that is much more personal.
When you recruit people to work with you, are they people who have a huge technique and want to get out of that ?
Not necessarily. It's mostly an understanding at first, how we manage to establish a discourse between us, a connection, what we manage to tell, what the person has to express. It can be through drawing, not necessarily through embroidery. There are some people who are much more comfortable with drawing.
When you start working with a finalist, it's a blank slate since they come in with ideas in mind. How does the process work ? Is it a kind of merger ?
It's a real exchange. At first, there are some who are not attracted to embroidery, and I find it interesting to figure out how to build a story together. Valentin had a very marked universe, he knew right away what he wanted. For me, it was a question of being able to show him translations of his desires.
Are there any surprises sometimes when you come to the Festival ? Are there things that are unexpected ? Do you get taken out of your comfort zones ?
Yes ! It's interesting. And I think that it's only by doing collaborations like these where it can happen, with new people, people who don't come to look for us for our know-how, to whom we impose to work with our know-how. In the end, everyone manages to find an agreement and build pieces that mix our savoir-faire and their final vision of a piece of clothing
For a young person reading this interview in 2022, know-how means everything and nothing, as it does for many other people. Nowadays, what is the most accurate definition of know-how ?
There is a notion of striving for perfection in the execution of things. Even if things are sometimes imperfect.
Does it matter if they go to school or not ?
I think education means nothing. If you have something to tell, if you're passionate about it, and you manage to build a story, you don't need more. It's a beautiful universe, that's all.