Pleats? Yes, please.

I’m a computer science major at college, but I have a deep love for the physicality of clothes. There’s a reason why people return far more clothes bought online than clothes bought in store. Only in person that you can understand fit and feel, only in person can you see what shade the fabric truly is, and only in person can you truly understand the designer’s vision and evaluate whether it was successfully executed. There are dimensions of data that are lost unless you are holding the item in your hand. With this in mind, I will review a pair of Issey Miyake Pleats Please pants that I purchased blindly off eBay years ago, but have come to love, wear after wear.

Issey Miyake is a Japanese fashion designer who is famous for his Pleats Please line – a collection of clothes all made from his process of using heat to pleat specially designed and sewed polyester clothing. This process creates clothes that permanently retain their pleats, but are incredibly light and durable. They do not wrinkle and can be rolled into a small ball and stuffed inside luggage, making them perfect for travel. They are warm enough to be worn in the winter yet light enough to feel comfortable in the cooler days of summer – my pair of Issey Miyake pants are the only item in my wardrobe that does not get put away in the season transition.

These pants are beautiful. Sleek, textured and black, they look like architectural sculptures rather than pants. I receive compliments on them frequently. What people don’t know though, is that they are my lazy pants. The pants have an impossibly stretchy elastic waistband, and due to the expandable nature of polyester, are one size fits all. You can wear these pants regardless of whether you weigh 100 pounds or 200 pounds, regardless of your gender. When I go out to eat, regardless of whether it is at a fancy restaurant or McDonald’s, I will put these pants on. They are kind, and grow with my belly. They do not make me self conscious.

In contrast, many clothing items designed by high end fashion houses are uncomfortable and impractical – they sacrifice usability for aesthetics. In fact, I own a few of these impractical items, but they sit in the back of my closet, unused. Meanwhile, I’ve wear my Issey Miyake pants at least once a week for two years now. This is the main reason why I love Pleats Please. Issey Miyake took the time to think about the people who would wear his items, to consider what would make their lives easy, what would allow them to live and move free. His clothes are not meant to fill a void, but rather to complement a rich and dynamic lifestyle.

And this has been my philosophy for designing good products. Good products should not take center stage. They should not monopolize your time. Rather, they should help you life your best life, unrestricted and free.

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