Spice: Japanese online magazine
Description of the article from “Spice magazine”:
Article about the career of Satoshi, his title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France in Haute Couture embroidery and his winning vest for the contest.
Translation of the article:
Japanese Artist Thriving in Paris【Issue 1】
In this newly launched column, we will introduce and interview Japanese artists who are making a mark in Paris.
[Profile of the Featured Artist] Embroidery Artist Satoshi Sekimoto (33)
Working at a renowned embroidery atelier in Paris, he specializes in haute couture embroidery for brands like Chanel. In 2015, he became the first Japanese to receive the prestigious “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” (MOF) award in the embroidery category.
The Paris Fashion Week continues to be a global trendsetter. Did you know that amidst the glamour of this world, there are numerous craftsmen supporting it, and among them, there are Japanese?
This time, we introduce one such Japanese individual, embroidery artist Satoshi Sekimoto.
Originally from Hiroshima, Sekimoto learned the basics of fashion at a specialized fashion school during his student days. It was during this time that he encountered French embroidery, and in 2004, he came to France to study embroidery in the heart of Paris. After learning embroidery at the Lesage School, he continues to work as an embroidery artist in an atelier specializing in haute couture embroidery. Recently honored with the MOF award, we spoke with Sekimoto about his achievements.
Journalist: Congratulations on receiving the MOF award! It’s indeed a great honor. Could you provide a brief introduction to MOF, which is still not well-known in Japan?
Sekimoto: MOF, translated directly into Japanese, means “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” or “France’s Best Craftsman.” It is a title awarded to craftsmen who, every four years, participate in a competition in France to preserve traditional craft techniques. Only those artisans selected in the evaluation process are given this title.
In the worlds of sweets and cuisine, award winners often stand out, appearing in the media wearing uniforms adorned with the MOF emblem (the French flag). However, it is a competition that craftsmen from various fields, including fashion and furniture, can challenge. (In the 2015 MOF Haute Couture Embroidery category, only Sekimoto and one other craftsman were chosen from numerous participants—a remarkable achievement for the first Japanese!)
Journalist: I heard that even participating in the competition is quite challenging. Could you share some of the difficulties you faced until you received the award?
Sekimoto: In Japan, the image of a “craftsman” is often someone who diligently hones their skills. However, French craftsmen are not only required to have technical skills but also demand creativity as an artist. I strongly felt this when creating the pieces required for evaluation. It starts with researching the history of the given theme, and even within significant constraints, you need to articulate why each element of your work—the choice of materials, design, etc.—is the way it is. Craftsmen are expected not only to create something beautiful but also to possess a philosophical understanding.
Sekimoto’s artwork themed on “India.” Beyond its extravagance, the meticulousness of the embroidery is truly dazzling.
Journalist: What are your future plans?
Sekimoto: While being honored with the MOF award is a great achievement, there is still much to learn about embroidery. In the future, I want to create original embroidery works not only as a craftsman but also as an artist.
French craftsmen are both artists and philosophers.
This interview made me realize that the reason Paris, as a city, continues to embody traditional culture and be loved globally is because of individuals like Sekimoto.
Look forward to the next edition.