LUMEN ET UMBRA
NOMEN EST OMEN
Lumen et Umbra “light and shadow” in ancient Latin reflects harmony that come from nature and the universe.
Because ”where the light is brightest, the shadow is deepest.”
LUMEN ET UMBRA is a creative collaboration between Japanese designer Issei Fujita and photographer Susanna Ferrante.
The brand was launched in 2006 and it stands for an experimental recreation of garments in a very delicate design process. Clothes that synchronise with identity rather than aggressively overcome the wearer has many unrevealed details to discover.
Creating outside seasons and industry circles LUMEN ET UMBRA focus more on timeless, unique and, many times, gender fluid objects as an answer to over consumerism and profit driven fast fashion.
Japanese tradition and the use of high technology in fabrics and production develop a special dialogue between the past and the future.
Residing and working in Italy, Japanese designer Issei Fujita has always been influenced by the traditional simplicity of clothing in his native country. He has translated this into Lumen et Umbra, through which he creates garments combining traditional craftsmanship with unique and innovative techniques.
Rewinding about 12 years, Fujita, in his twenties at the time, came across garments from Maurizio Altieri’s Carpe Diem on a visit to a boutique in Osaka. Immediately fascinated by the work, he made the bold choice to travel to Italy to meet the man behind the label. In 1999 he began working for the label, researching materials and visual merchandising, feeding his passion for travelling with various people involved in the label. The experience of working on various stages of the creative process was essential to him, influencing his creative approach and laying the foundations for his label, Lumen et Umbra.
Fujita’s earliest fashion-related influences stem from childhood memories, sparking his interest to create his clothing. “My mother always liked clothes from Comme des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto. As a child, I saw her wearing these brands to express herself” he reminisces.
co-founder of Lumen et Umbra since 2006, photographer.
She collaborated with many fashion brands and magazines; Kenzo -Elle France, Elle Japan, Grey Magazine, i-D, Spoon, Rolling Stone …
Susanna likes animals, nature, meditation... and most of all discretion. Always like to stay behind the scenes. However, her signature is always there in her photographs.
In 2005 “I discovered a special technique to print on fabrics and other materials. I decided to start a small t-shirts collection, playing with light and shadows, in black and white.” The range of t-shirts utilising a special printing technique was the first showcase from him as a photographer and designer, the presentation also featured a video produced by a very good friend Alessandro Tinelli.
Issei interest in materials has led to extensive research to develop unique fabrics and methods to work with them. “I’m trying to mix materials used in the old times with new technologies. The Orbace is one of these; it’s a strong wool fabric made by special craftsmanship and used during the Roman Empire making soldier’s clothes, it’s water-resistant.”
Another unique material from the current season is hemp harvested from Abaca plants, often used for ropes, fishing nets as well as speciality paper due to its natural characteristics of strength, flexibility and also water resistance. “I always like to test innovative treatments on experimental fabrics”, Fujita says. In the upcoming Lumen et Umbra collection, part of the knitwear range utilises paper yarn while some pieces have carbon and metal mixed with natural materials like wool, cashmere, silk and cotton. The use of carbon, in particular, is a very unusual idea; when examining the garments up close one can see black streaks of fibres within the knit, whereas metal fibres create a crumbled effect on materials that still feel soft and luxurious.
Treatments are another significant element in the garments, such as airbrushing to create a unique texture on knit fabrics. “All these finishes are done by hand, one by one” Fujita explains. “I work with a team of people skilled in treatments, every collection has a special peculiarity that we work with.” All the work is created in Italy, with different processes taking place in different locations, with Fujita following all the stages to build the final result. “I’ve had the chance to work with small factories that have an excellent tradition in manufacturing, we have a close relationship with some of these craftsmen that we collaborate with.”
“I hope to see my aesthetic adapted rather than consumed. I would like for people to approach my collection and wear my clothes with their personal style in mind” Issei