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Winner Interview

Interview / July.30, 2019

Interview by Tomoko Kawasaki
Translation by Aiko Osaki
Photography by Yohey Goto

渡部 宏一

2シーズンにわたって、フィレンツェの「PITTI UOMO」とパリのショールーム「」でコレクションを発表するにあたり、どのような意識で臨みましたか。

RAINMAKERは、これまで一度も海外店舗との取引がなく、今回の取組が海外に向けた初めてのプレゼンテーションとなりました。ブランド立ち上げから6年目に入り、近い将来海外でという想いはあったので、徐々に海外スケジュールに合わせたものづくりもしていました。TOKYO FASHION AWARDのサポートを受け、初めて海外で発表するコレクションでしたが、それを特別に意識することはなく、国内と同様に、自分たちらしいコレクションをまず見てもらおう、評価をしてもらおうという姿勢で臨みました。


1シーズン目(2019 A/W)のピッティとパリのショールームともに、自分たちのコレクションを見てもらう段階にまで至らず、反応も得られませんでした。そうした1シーズン目の反省を活かして、セールススタッフを用意して臨んだ2シーズン目(2020 S/S)から、バイヤー、プレスに見てもらうことができました。ロンドン、カナダ、アメリカのバイヤーからの評判が良く、シンプルなジャケットスタイルが高い評価を得ていて、いくつかのアカウントと契約できそうです。



TOKYO FASHION AWARDのプログラムに参加したことは、ブランドにとってどのような経験になりましたか。


渡部 宏一



In announcing your collection for 2 consecutive seasons at “PITTI UOMO” at Firenze and the Paris showroom “”, with what mind set did you face these?

RAINMAKER has never had any previous transactions with overseas shops, so this turned out to be our very first effort in making a presentation towards overseas. Having entered our 6th year from the start of the brand, we had started thinking about expanding to overseas developments in the near future, so we had gradually started to produce according to overseas schedules. With the support of the TOKYO FASHION AWARD, this became our first overseas collection presentation, but rather than being overly conscious of that, our position was to have people see and appraise a collection befitting us, as when presenting in Japan.

渡部 宏一

How was the reaction of the buyers and press whom came to the venue?

In the first season (2019 A/W), at both PITTI and the Paris showroom, we could not reach the level of presenting our collection, so we did not receive any reaction. But making good use of such reflections of the first season, from the second season (2020 S/S) which we faced well prepared with sales staff, we were able to have buyers and press see our collection. We received good reactions from buyers from London, Canada, and the U.S. Our simple jacket style was especially well received, and we will most likely be tying contracts with several accounts.
RAINMAKER does not make wild, outlandish things or nostalgic creations. We interpret historical resources and/or things with historical context from a modern point of view and incorporate it into our creations. We’ve created a style of combining a no-collar jacket with a V-neck shirt, expressing the relationship between a Japanese kimono juban (undershirt) and haneri (decorative collar). This item is popular among overseas tourists at our directly operated shop at Kyoto. On the surface it is Japanese, but construction wise it is Western, and I feel this kind of sense will be accepted by some overseas buyers.

Please tell us of the triumphant return event held during fashion week Tokyo this March.

The runway show which was carried out as the triumphant return event, was an extremely big merit from a PR aspect. We received contact from overseas buyers saying they’d like to see our products, and also inquiries about products from end-users. I realize the best timing to hold a show is before the exhibit, but we are presently contemplating the possibility of holding shows in Tokyo, as part of our PR strategy.

What kind of experience has participating in the TOKYO FASHION AWARD Program been for the brand?

It had become an opportunity to connect with fashion brands whom we’ve never had any connection with, allowing us to exchange all sorts of information, which was very significant. It enabled me to learn of each’s ideas, thoughts on creation and business.

Please tell us of your future aspirations.

Our near goal for overseas developments is to acquire 10 accounts within 4 seasons of our overseas debut. Whether we will continue to participate in “”, or tie a contract with a local showroom, or continue honest, down-to-earth sales ourselves, is something we need to continue considering, to find the most effective way. At the same time, I am also considering the durability of the brand, and to this end, we will be starting up a new brand within the company, called “MILL”, this Autumn/Winter, also putting strength into human resources development. As for the future, we hope to create a facility at Kyoto, our home-ground, containing a self-factory, atelier, planning office, shop, all-in-one, to create an atmosphere which will allow us to perpetually continue the clothes making of RAINMAKER.



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