Japan designer in catwalk immigration bid
A Japanese fashion designer living illegally in France presented his latest women’s collection at the Palace of Justice in Paris on Friday in a last- ditch effort to get his papers, his lawyer said.
Umpei Ohura presented around 10 outfits — which included plenty of denim, fluid fabrics and pleated skirts — at the clandestine catwalk show in the dramatic hall of the Palace of Justice, which is home to France’s top courts.
The 34- year- old arrived in France on a student visa in 2006, but has been without papers since 2013.
He worked for different designers over the years before launching his own line, Cloud Lobby.
Ohura’s lawyer Romain Boulet tried to win Ohura the right to reside in France on the basis of a 2012 decree by France’s theninterior minister Manuel Valls that allows residency for people with “exceptional talent,” but to no avail.
“This young man is steeped in talent, and France should be proud to welcome him,” said Boulet in an online video of the fashion show.
“If this is not an exceptional talent, then I don’t know who is,” he said.
“He has every reason to get residency — he is financially independent, he is talented.”
Ohura has a degree in modelmaking from the international pattern- making academy in Paris, and has collaborated with designers such as Veronique Leroy, Christophe Lemaire and Haider Ackermann.
The designer wants to continue working in France, but without official papers it is difficult to develop his own fashion line.
“I can’t sell my designs at the big stores here, because I don’t have a work permit. It’s difficult. I have not been able to create my company, I don’t have a registration number,” he said.