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Yohei Oki


大木 葉平 / シュープ

Winner's Interview

Interview / Dec. 23, 2020
Interview by Sonoko Mita
Translation by Aiko Osaki
Photography by Yohey Goto

大木 葉平

1月に行われたフィレンツェの「PITTI IMMAGINE UOMO」と、パリのショールーム「」への出展はいかがでしたか?

過去にもパリで展示会をした経験はありましたが、今回はTOKYO FASHION AWARDの受賞ブランドとして出展したことで、より多くの方たちにコレクションを見て頂くことができました。これまで以上に日本のブランドとして認識してもらえましたし、偉大なデザイナーの方たちによって築かれてきた日本のブランドの歴史や価値を改めて知る機会となりました。自分たちのコレクションに興味を示してくれたアジアやヨーロッパのバイヤーも多かったのですが、後に拡がった新型コロナウイルスの影響でビジネス的には厳しい結果となりました。

7月に予定されていた2回目の「」は、新型コロナウイルスの感染拡大を受け、「JOOR PASSPORT」にオンラインショールームを設ける形となりました。




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。




How was “PITTI IMMAGINE UOMO” at Florence and exhibition at the Paris showroom, “”, in January?

We’ve done exhibitions at Paris in the past, but because this time was as an award winner of the TOKYO FASHION AWARD, we were able to have more people see our collection. We were not only acknowledged more than ever as a Japanese brand, but it also became an opportunity to realize once again, the history and value of Japanese brands, built by great designers. There were many Asian and European buyers whom showed interest in our brand, but due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which came later, business wise, the results were quite strict.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the second “” scheduled to be held in July was changed to establishing an online showroom in “JOOR PASSPORT”. How do you feel about that?

We participated in the online showroom in a situation when everything had to be continued by trial and error. Conveying the attractions of a physical existence such as clothes online, is not an easy task. Shops we’ve had business with from before has thankfully continued business with us, but new developments have been quite difficult. At SHOOP, we introduced our ASICS collaboration project, which was scheduled to go on sale in March in Tokyo, using 3D movies at the London Fashion Week held online in June. Such efforts may increase in the future, but at least for the next few years, considering all factors including costs, I think physical expressions will still continue to remain predominant.

The triumphant return event in Tokyo Fashion Week scheduled for March was cancelled and carried out afresh in October. With what kind of mindset did you face it?

When I was first told about the event being held in October, the timing was when infection was still gradually spreading in Japan, so I thought about it until the very last minute. At first, I had contemplated an online presentation also, but after discussing the matter with all sorts of people and getting advice, I decided to do a physical presentation. We’ve experienced runway shows at Madrid 3 times in the past, but the fashion week in Tokyo is sort of a gateway to success for Japanese designers, so I faced it with a special mindset. We’ve experienced an approximately 2 months-long lock-down in Spain. Facing a situation in which several thousand people die every day, was extremely hard for us mentally. Amid such situations, day after day, I continued to ask myself, “why do I make clothes?”, but the runway show in Tokyo turned out to be a place to express our such thoughts and feelings.

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

The procession of programs has led to the growth of the brand, and especially through the runway show which we received grave reactions, we have been able to reacknowledge the power of expression of physical shows. We would like to consider continuing doing shows in Tokyo, raise the precision of our collection, and become able to surely express our world view.

Please tell us your plans for the future.

This has been a year to rethink all sorts of things from the core. Food, clothing and shelter is a basic need in daily life, but the clothing we make is rather close to luxury items. So when I think about what it is that we, who make non-essential products, can do, I feel it is to make clothes that excites people, clothes that make people feel rich and fulfilled. Furthermore, by contemplating ways to make clothes that not only allows the brand to grow but also helps all related persons to move in a positive direction, we hope to become a brand which can contribute to society.



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