Ja­pan de­signer in cat­walk immigration bid

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE -

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.

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