Aalto Art and Design Cases

Visiting lecturer: Akira Minagawa and ‘minä perhonen’

Aalto University had the pleasure and honour of hosting Akira Minagawa as visiting lecturer and learn about his lovely brand ‘minä perhonen’ as well as his fantastic work within fashion and textiles.
Visiting lecturer Akira Minagawa

Mr. Akira Minagawa gave a wonderful and inspiring lecture for Aalto University’s students, staff and guests in the Undergraduate Centre on 11th of April. 2019 He talked about his fashion work and creation of the brand ‘minä perhonen’ to the full lecture hall and the audience of 90 people.

‘Minä perhonen’ is a fashion and textile design brand founded in 1995 by designer Akira Minagawa to produce clothes that do not lose their allure through the lapse of time. Mr. Minagawa talked how pattern and textile design have been the main components in his work since the brand was born and how his memories are the most important source for inspiration of his designs. “My design is a mixture of my past, future and imagination. Choice of colour is also based on the feeling of the moment.”

Weaving, printing and embroidery are the main techniques used in ‘minä perhonen’ products and the design and the technique go hand in hand through the manufacturing process. Mr. Minagawa elaborated how his sketching process starts by selecting the best media. He thinks designing often struggles between the creative idea and finding the right technique for producing the textile. “The combination of techniques and machines plus the skills of masters make many things possible.”

Mr. Minagawa shares his own memories and stories through the brand and its products: “My memory becomes a product, the product gives a new memory for its users and this memory can produce a new product. It is an on-going circulation.”

Mr. Minagawa was impressed with Aalto ARTS’ textile and ceramic studios as well as our students. “The tour in Väre building and its modern facilities was inspiring and encouraging. Meeting some of the students and seeing their designs is a clear reminder that textile designing is endless. Textile designing comes in all shapes and forms. Feelings and emotions are evoked in amazing ways.”

“The strength of our brand is that we have fashion and textile design, and we can realize both at the same time.”

Akira Minagawa

‘minä perhonen’

The name of the label ‘minä perhonen’ has originated from the Finnish language, as the designer Minagawa sympathized with Scandinavian culture when he first visited Finland at the age of 19. Minagawa has a strong personal relation with Finland and visits us annually for connecting and collaborating with other designers and brands while promoting his own world-famous fashion and textile brand.


Akira Minagawa

Designer and founder of ‘minä perhonen’

Born in 1967, Tokyo. Founded ‘minä’ in 1995 (the name was changed to ‘minä perhonen’ in 2003). With the imaginative creative process and detailed drawings, he has designed numerous textiles for his own brand and the other manufacturers such as Kvadrat of Denmark, KLIPPAN of Sweden. His creation goes beyond fashion and also towards lifestyle, on which he sees a wide range of possibility to design. He offers illustrations for Asahi Shimbun Newspaper and the NIKKEI Newspaper, and some other picture books.

In Finland, Mr. Minagawa collaborated with Artek designing a durable interior fabric for Artek’s Three-legged stacking Stool 60. As well, he held the ‘minä perhonen’ pop-up shop in Artek’s store during the Helsinki Design Week 2016.



Aalto University contact and information:

Maarit Salolainen
Professor of Textile Design (Adjunct)
[email protected]

Tiina Paavilainen
Designer in Residence
[email protected]

Department of Design
MA programme for Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design / FaCT


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