Yohji Yamamoto's work had transcended geography and time, making him universally and timelessly cool. Julie Gilhart, fashion director of Barneys New York, described him as ''probably the only designer you could name who has 60-year-olds who think he's incredible and 17-year-olds who think he's way cool.''
After a fantastic debut show in Paris, 1981, Yohjo was given the moniker "rebel designer" for not giving a fuck about trends and forgoing the traditional thoughts on what clothing should be at that point. His 1984 debut men's collection continued this process, and his early men's work laid the foundation for the monochromatic and drapey collections that later defined "goth ninja" and influenced numerous brands on this list. He quickly became known as Japan's leading avant-garde designer, who's oversized silhouettes were complex, abstract, and had a shabby elegance that was unheard of at the time. In direct opposition to Kansai Yamamoto and Kenzo, the two biggest Japanese fashion brands of the '70s, Yohji preferred black and distressed materials to vibrancy and excess. Yohji Yamamoto is one of the few living designers who is widely accepted as a master of his craft. He not only made people pay attention to the fashion coming out of Japan, but helped to reshape the very notion of what fashion was and could be for modern men.