Bunka mannequin dolls (Photo: Tinka Weener)

Bunka Fashion College

One of the best regarded fashion schools in the world

Bunka mannequin dolls (Photo: Tinka Weener)
Tinka Weener   - 2 min read

Having a background in the fashion industry myself, I felt almost obligated to visit the famous Bunka Fashion College during my stay in Japan. Together with Central Saint Martin and Parsons, it is considered among the Top 3 fashion schools in the world. The college has produced a high number of prominent fashion designers working internationally, including Kenzo Takada, Junya Watanabe, and Yohji Yamamoto.

President Satoshi Onuma explains, "Bunka Fashion College was founded in 1923 as the first dressmaking school in Japan. Back then most of the female students wore kimono, they came here to learn how to make western garments for family members and their children. It wasn’t really an industry in that time, but we rapidly developed the college into Bunka Fashion College and gained international prominence in the 1960s, when graduates of the school began showing their designs in Paris."

Since then, Bunka has had a significant role in shaping fashion education in Japan. The school now offers programs in Fashion Design, Fashion Technology, Fashion Marketing and Distribution, Fashion Accessories, and Textiles.

Bunka Fashion College's campus comprises of a 21-story building that includes the latest facilities such as a library, costume museum, and a resource center which provides a wealth of information on fashion. The building is located about an 8-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station.

Unfortunately, it is not very easy to study here as a Westerner. You must have a very good understanding of Japanese language and have the financial means to live in Japan. Part-time work is not allowed when you’re a student. Nonetheless, the school has an international student body and approximately a third of students enrolling in BA courses are from another country.

If you are not planning on studying at Bunka but are interested in what the school does and teaches, you can visit the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum next door. They have four exhibitions each year based on the theme: “Understanding the Culture of the World and Japan through Clothing." It has a ¥500 entrance fee and is definitely an inspiring and interesting place to visit if you want to get a better image of the Japanese fashion industry.

Tinka Weener

Tinka Weener @tinka.weener

Dutch.Located in Harajuku, Tokyo.