How did you first get interested in starting ＜HUMAN MADE＞? I’ve always been interested in vintage style so I had been thinking about remaking my favorite vintage items someday. Being around ＜WAREHOUSE＞ a lot, I knew they make articles of pretty high quality. At times, they utilize old sewing machines they find here and there; at other times, they make new ones when they find a certain stitch cannot be accomplished by the machines they already have. I’m really influenced a lot by vintage so I suggested selfishly that we should collaborate. They accepted very willingly.
Even though I make articles that have a scent of futurism, I am very much influenced by the past. So, this concept of going backwards to move towards the future… thinking this way, I got interested. I could work outside of ＜APE＞ and devote time to investigating a new direction.
At first, I thought to name this new collection ＜A BATHING APE×WAREHOUSE＞ and I even started designing the brand label. Then, I reconsidered and decided I wanted to start anew and prove that I could distinguish this without ＜A BATHING APE＞. That is why I started this collection as an entirely separate brand with a new name, ＜HUMAN MADE＞.
You say you decided to work together with ＜WAREHOUSE＞because they are good quality? Yes. I think their design skills are totally awesome. They have a technology we don’t have, but which we can find when putting on any pair of their jeans. I thought it would be nice to try and blend our skills. And their persistence with production is going beyond my expectation. I am always excited by the 100% successes they pull off.
What do you think is important in ＜HUMAN MADE＞? That would be NOT to remake vintage items as they originally were. I think it doesn’t work if you try to repeat history this way. Changing the patterns, adding a sense of myself, I always consider these points. The way I choose which articles to re-make is by considering whether I frequently wear them or not. Also, rarity is a factor, and I will remake hard-to-find fashion such as the prisoner jacket among this season`s collection. The prisoner jacket had its fame but it was not mass-produced. So there are probably many people who never saw its original though they are intrigued. The texture of the original has reemerged remarkably in our new design. There must be some freaks who will be ecstatic to put their hands on that jacket.
Tell us your favorite among this season’s lineup? Actually, the entire volume of articles designed was 2 or 3 times larger than what we released. I thought if we presented too much variety, customers would be struggling to decide. So I reduced the collection to a limited selection that lets customers pay attention to each item available. All the items I left in the lineup are what I personally want to wear or use right now. That’s why I can’t choose my favorite.
Why did you choose BEAMS as a partner? First of all, President Shitara and I have known each other for a long time and he have continued to work together. Beyond that, I used to work at a curry restaurant in Harajuku. At that time, BEAMS staff would often come to eat and hang out. Not to mention, the first Chinos pants I ever bought were from BEAMS’. I still have them.
When I thought about where would be the most suitable venue for presenting the new collection＜HUMAN MADE＞, a multi-brand shop such as BEAMS seemed appropriate because the customers who visit that kind of store don’t seem to be pursuing a particular brand name. I think multi-brand store customers choose what they buy purely based on whether it is good or not. I think a multi brand shop is the place where the demographic of customers I want to present the collection will gather.
What kind of image do you think displaying your clothes in BEAMS provides? In my honest opinion, this lineup seems fit for the image of a BEAMS storefront 20 years ago. So, hopefully I’d like to evoke that nostalgia. Also, I would like to attract the young people to come out into the city. I honestly think the situation of late should have people concerned with the way that young people buy clothes on the internet without leaving home.
By the way, do you have a certain criterion for your tastes? That’s probably the same as my taste in women. At a vintage clothing store, they sometimes say “you seem to like this style”. But really, there must be something particular there which I`m fascinated by. My vintage collections also have a certain unified point. I am not sure by myself what it is but everybody says I have a wide range of tastes.
What is it that you’ve been bitten by lately? Japanese culture. At home, I wear a pair of shoes with a sandal thong like the ones usually worn backstage at a Kabuki performance. And I secretly visit a tiny shop in Kyoto and often go to watch traditional Kyogen stage performances. Even though I hadn’t really been interested before, Kyogen is just as interesting as Kabuki. I wish young people would go to watch these performances more often. When I go to that kind of theater, I can hardly find a young person. I am afraid that Japanese culture does not take root with them anymore. A lot of things will disappear easily in our traditional culture as well as in our fashion culture if we are not attentive to our past. I think this is a great matter of concern.
What can you predict about the future of Japanese fashion? More and more, I think the cultures like ‘URAHARA’ will start to disappear. People will align more along the comforts of major brands. In Japan, young people seem apathetic while other Asian cities have raised a generation of empowered youth, something I`ve found traveling the region. For example, the scene in Beijing or Shanghai could change in the time of one month. A deserted street could be reborn as a crowded stylish boutique lane full of young people who bought something unique and hold varying shopping bags in each hand. This situation is reminiscent of when ＜APE＞ launched their Hong Kong location. At first, the area seemed to lack a shopper`s spirit, but at some point, that was flipped entirely. We have to warm Japan up from now on, don’t we? We have to make young people come out of their bedrooms. So, let’s continue to produce interesting products and make that the catalyst to driving people to enjoy life together….
“The big big thing I have discovered, the big secret is that’s all about, how happy you are. It’s the ultimate thing. People forget your flaws and imperfections if they see you are happy. Oh and maybe just a little fake than…”—$ienna Miller
Hedi Slimane Interviewed about Future of Fa$hion...
How do you think technology—tweeting, blogging, social media, etc.—has affected fashion? For better or worse?
It has affected different aspects of fashion tremendously. From commentary to fashion design, communication, and distribution.
The fashion Internet community is like a global digital agora tweeting passions and opinions. Anyone knows better, and each one is a self-made critic.
This is a fascinating idea, as I always favored amateurism (”the one that loves”) over professionalism, attraction over experience. It obliges anyone in the industry to think in a fresher way.
Of course, it is hard to say if any “authority,” someone like Suzy Menkes, might one day come out and use digital means to lead with integrity, enough background, outside of any conflict of interest.
On a design perspective, it has allowed any young designer or indie brand to get an instant audience, if used with wit and invention.
I am not quite sure of the future of retail as we know it. This is a truly important thing, maybe the most important one, as it might already mean there is nothing standing between the design and an audience/consumer.
Finally, the better and the worse have always been part of fashion, with the Internet only magnifying it and creating a joyful and noisy digital chaos.
The bottom line is that any note can create music. It is only a matter of taste.
I am quiet sure something like this will happen in the future. He always liked the French brand, but now his wears it all the time from head to toe. The customized jacket with Yeezy on the back is also suspicious. We will see, I hope it; one of my favorite Brands and my favorite Artist would be nice…
Mr Ranger was the first Rockin the Bicker Jackets from Surface to Air x Justice, he always said he’s a huge fan and now the French Label announced a Collaboration for the Fall. They will be inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller and cost about 1200$…