About a year ago, I was invited to do a show in Firenze. I wondered how we could exhibit our collection in a format that was completely unlike anything we had ever done before? What will the atmosphere be like if we presented our products and ourselves in a runway show?
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It's been 17 years since I started the brand. Every six months I design and develop new products, they are then shown and sold in the form of a presentation, which is something I have continuously done every season.
From the beginning, I had always thought of displaying our products in my own unique way, and as a result of some trial and error, we have exhibited installations reflective of seasonal themes, other times we exhibited the finished product together with the materials or fabrics that were used and developed for that season, while also introducing the development process. We've also had our sales team explain technical details of our products. Through these different experiences season after season, we organically found our current presentation format to present new collections. This method worked well as a way to express our design and development philosophy, as well as the stories behind each of our products.
About a year ago, I was invited to do a show in Firenze. I wondered how we could exhibit our collection in a format that was completely unlike anything we had ever done before? What will the atmosphere be like if we presented our products and ourselves in a runway show? Would the people be able to feel the warmth of the handmade products, and how could we exhibit the passion that is born when paying extra attention to every intricate detail?
Several years ago in a London suburb I encountered a group of couples that were amateur jitterbug dancers. Their warmth and humorous nature, which I felt firsthand, remained in my memory. What resonated most with my wife and me were the love, passion, and happiness that you felt from their pure love of dancing. Most of all, it was an authentic feeling that you can't experience through something commercial. It can be said that these sorts of feelings are what I want to express through the presentation of our product collections. After remembering them, I immediately tracked them down and asked them if they would be a part of our show.
Because we design our products under natural light, I wanted to do our show using only natural light as well. I wanted the people to experience our products in a similar environment to which we create them. We also had the idea of decorating the venue using pieces from our Los Angeles studio where our designs are born. That included cars, motorcycles, and speakers that we use in our studio to listen to music.
I also wanted everyone involved with the show from members of our staff, to the dancers and people in attendance to be a part of the show as well. Executing all these fine details for just a 10-minute show created a tense yet uplifting atmosphere that I have never experienced when preparing for a presentation. It brought a sense of excitement and joy that I felt could get very addictive.
Our shoes are made by a hand-sewn Goodyear construction method, our garments and carp streamers were made from handmade Mino washi, our fabrics that were deliberately woven unevenly, our sweatshirts dyed with natural mud and indigo, our stencil-dyed shirts, hand drawn details using brushes... Every product of ours has a story, and was designed with the thought of wanting to leave an everlasting impression on whoever wore or used them. I would be delighted if we could convey even a portion of that to the people in attendance by the time the show was complete.
That is the story of how we were able to create our own unique show.
Dissertation on VISVIM SHOW
photo: Keisuke Fukamizu