A Feel For Fashion: Keishan

Interviews, Inspirations

Keishan was born in the countryside near Nagano, Japan in 1997. She is a transgender female model who is actively engaged in changing Japanese society that has generally been closed to the LGBTQIA+ community for too long. She was scouted while working at an apparel shop in Tokyo and started appearing as a TV personality in 2017. Traveling to New York for the first time in 2019 to build her modelling career, she experienced an openness that motivated her to return to Japan and fight for equality. She is the first transgender female model in a UNIQLO advertising campaign and was also featured in the Loewe advertisement in Japan tied to its 50th anniversary. In 2023 she made Forbes Japan’s 30 under 30 in the category of Art, Style & Social.

What excites you in fashion right now?

I get very excited when a designer shows me new values or conveys a fashion moment that changes a stereotype.

What is one reason to be optimistic about the state of fashion going forward?

I feel we are looking forward to seeing certain old rules change. Human rights issues could even start changing through the clothes [people wear].

In what ways do you think AI might benefit fashion?

With artificial intelligence, we can quickly see what is trending, so I think we can drop some pointless topics and dedicate our time to more valuable things.

Who or what will drive the greatest change in fashion this year?

Hunter Schafer. She broadened my transgender horizons. I am very honoured to know her.

What impact might you hope to have on fashion through your work?

I don't know what you think about the current fashion situation, but I didn't see it as having the right approach to a diverse society. As a transgender person, I aim to change all these stereotypes.

Can you suggest a fashion mantra for '24?

Fashion trends move too quickly; the same old fashions will eventually return. So I would like to express myself through fashion and I believe that a new era awaits me beyond my expression.

This interview has been lightly edited.