The late Koichi Tsukamoto, founder of the Kyoto Costume Institute and of Wacoal Corporation, had the following to say about the establishment of KCI.
"After World War II, the genre of western-style ladies' clothing has developed in a dramatic way in Japan, but most of it has been imported. In order for Japanese fashions to truly lead the world, it is critical that we understand the entire historical process of the development of the garment industry right up through the present, as encapsulated in the phrase, 'reviewing the old so as to find out the new.' I felt that this was Wacoal's mission and at the same time, my mission in founding the company and taking the mantle of the presidency."
The development that led directly to the establishment of KCI was a fashion exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. This exhibition was reenacted at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto in 1975 under the title "Inventive Clothes" through the effort of Tsukamoto, who served as Vice Chairman of the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry, responding to the strong request from Mr. Issey Miyake. This event, the first full-scale fashion exhibition held at a Japanese national art museum, was received very well, raising awareness of the importance of fashion which is originated from Japan and has a worldwide perspective.
In April 1978, with the authorization of the Agency for Cultural A airs, KCI was established under the auspices of Wacoal Corporation, aiming to systematically collect, preserve, research, and display western-style clothes. Tsukamoto inisited that the word "Kyoto" remain in the name of the institute, which is known worldwide as one of Japan's ancient capitals and the center of Japan's traditional culture, as well as its cutural backdrop including its spectacular kimono tradition. Japanese modern fashion, with its roots in Japan's original clothing culture, took off for the world since the 1980s. Today, KCI, brainchild of Tsukamoto's tremendous insight, continues its work as a global-scale fashion research institute based in Kyoto.