On Monday, April 5, the US space shuttle Discovery blasted into space with seven crew members, including Naoko Yamazaki, 39, an astronaut from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
She is the 54th woman to ever reach space, the 2nd Japanese woman to ever become an astronaut and, more importantly, the first woman to ever climb into the heavens with style and grace.
Prior to her departure, Yamazaki hired Japanese fashion designer Tae Ashida to prepare her wardrobe for the 13-day mission. According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency, Tae, who is in fact the daughter of Japanese fashion mogul Jun Ashida, weaved together “a slim knit cardigan in light blue with navy blue shorts.”
When interviewed by AFP, Tae said, “As a female designer, I chose a design and color with a sense of grace, so that she [Yamazaki] can feel at ease as she carries out a tough mission in a male-dominated, bleak atmosphere.”
Tae is somewhat incorrect, however, as two other astronauts onboard are also women. Plus once they arrive at the International Space Station, they will join forces with NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, bringing the number of women simultaneously in space to its highest ever: 4. On the other hand, all 9 other astronauts currently also in space are men.
Ashida added, “It’s like a dream come true to see my clothes worn in space. I’m looking forward to seeing her [Yamazaki] wear my design.”