Yukio Kobayashi was born in 1951 in Niigata Prefecture. He entered the Matsuda (Nicole in Japan) menswear line in 1976 and began his career as a chief designer in 1983. In 1995, he took on the role of chief designer of womenswear.
His work with the photographer Nan Goldin is published in photo collection books and exhibitions, including the New York: The Art Director's Club award-winning book of the autumn/winter 1996 Matsuda collection, Nan Goldin meets Yukio Kobayashi.
His own design company, Kobayashi Design Office, follows his mission to create 'liberating' and 'genderless' clothes. Interested in ecological and environmental issues, Kobayashi ignores conventional brand-marketing strategies.
He believes that fashion should be fun and 'synonomous to play'. His designs typically use sewing and decorative techniques such as needle punch and quilting.