MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?
I’m Emi Jingu, a balloon artist and designer. I absolutely love creating entertaining balloon art pieces. I have been awarded many times in Japan and internationally for the originality and complexity of my designs. In 2018, I was crowned champion of the “dress category” at the U.S. Balloon Convention which was then featured on multiple media outlets.
The brand, ‘Emi Jingu’, seeks to create more fashionable and artistic pieces, and using balloons helps me expand my creative possibilities.
My activity and experience covers a wide range of projects. In 2016, I decorated The U.S. embassy in Japan for the 2016 United States presidential election. I mainly work for advertisement projects and events in Japan. In 2017, I held my first individual exhibition abroad in New York. In 2018, I conducted my first world tour visiting New York, London, Milan, and Paris; that was the project to introduce my artwork to the world.
MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?
When I was a university student, I organized fashion events. That experience led me to fashion design. In addition, I started to design balloon dresses because I became fascinated with them when I took part in balloon conventions.
MM: Can you describe your creative process?
When I design a balloon dress, I design it based solely on the theme, I don’t worry too much about the shape just yet. The first step is to analyze the colour balance and develop a theme. A key part of my creative process is the coloration of the balloons. I don’t use the original colours of the balloons. Instead, I have developed a few methods to enhance their colour and create new ones. One of them is to combine the layers of two balloons to show the inner colour through outer colour; this makes the colours much more vibrant. Another is to hand dye transparent balloons.
I believe my style of fashion design is very unique and it expresses the colourful world that’s in my mind.
MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?
I try to be observant of everything that happens during my day in search for inspiration. For instance, watching window displays while shopping, visiting art museums, watching musical shows, and so on. As well, when I meet someone that makes me feel loved and welcome, I take pictures so I don’t forget the feeling. I love to spend time thinking about how to express emotions through balloons.
MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?
When I create my collection, I ask myself express the colours and the unlimited possibilities of the balloons. I have two missions in my collection. I create my collection with the hope to introduce the balloon fashion to much more people. I, as a fashion designer, want to create the balloon dresses separated from the balloon and upgraded from the balloon art to the fashion. Those two mission encourage me in my collection.
MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?
The balloons are not eternal. Even you buy a balloon dress, you cannot keep wearing that dress. However, that is why the balloon dresses are worth to wear. Additionally, the attraction which the balloon dresses have can be expressed only by the balloon dresses.
The fashion business with the balloon dresses, the balloon fashion, is just groping in the dark. Currently, my balloon dresses are used for the advertisement projects and events. I am willing to introduce the balloon fashion to much more people. I am willing to have my balloon dresses to be worn by wonderful people, and make both of them shine. I want to create such beautiful collaboration.
MM: How was your experience presenting work in New York?
In 2018, I was invited to BAM, the oldest culture center in the USA; I provided balloon dressed at “BAMkids film festival”. The event which led me to the project with BAM was my first exhibition in NY in 2017.
During the exhibition, I conducted fashion show in the subway as one of the promoting activity; and one of BAM staffs encountered with the fashion show.
My first visit to NY, the epicenter of the trends, was at my age 21. The city had a great presence; it took my breath away. Since then, I have visited NY several times. The various things and persons at everywhere in NY brought me much inspiration.
MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?
I love expression work. I love to spend time thinking about how to express my feelings and inspiration in my mind such as how to twist the shape and how to choose the colour.
I like to visit art stores and craft stores; they are like treasure boxes for me. Many materials and tools at there brought me ideas. I cannot help myself thinking about new collaborations between such items and the balloons.
MM: What was the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection which was showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?
When you hear the word “Balloon”, maybe you imagine toys and gifts for kids. At VFW I wanted to rewrite your image by my artworks. I wanted to express and introduce you to the unlimited possibilities of balloons. Furthermore, I wanted to show new artworks which are beyond balloons. I wanted the audience to feel the originality of balloon fashion with texture, colour and shape.
MM: What is your favourite piece from the new collection?
In my new collection, there are 2 balloon dresses which are painted. I love the metallic colours like gold and bronze. In addition, I was committed to create the shape of the skirt. I created the shape making
the rounded parts and the dented parts adding pinch twist bubbles from the middle of the skirt. This is my original technique.
Thank you Emi Jingu for giving us an insight into your super creative approach to fashion design.
Follow Emi Jingu on Instagram @emijingu