Dissertation on product individuality




How are designs that speak to the heart born? How are we able to design products with meaning?
Every season we explore the relationship between production methods, design, and the power found within products. My favorite vintage items that I've collected aren't just pieces of inspiration in and of themselves; continuous investigation of these products while considering the aforementioned relationships has also led to many hints.

I wonder, of all the pieces I've come upon so far, why am I most drawn to the ones that reflect the owner's character?

Why are hand-drawn, hand-embroidered vintage pieces, with all their idiosyncrasies, so attractive? Why are vintage clothes, with their conversational piece-like designs reminiscent of written message collages from the 1930's and 40's, so charming? How is the allure of 1940's American hot rods different from that of cars that came afterwards? How can old, used guitars be so cool?

And so I made a hypothesis as I designed the Spring and Summer 2015 collection.
The sincere stance of youth, the handiwork that manifests a persons uniqueness, a private and honest and pure message...don't all of these things together bring forth products with extraordinary depth?

We worked with an artisan to draw, not print, sketches that we had made, all done one by one by hand. There is fabric made from a collage of private photos. Embroidered messages to my wife. A hand-painted robe by a Kyo-yuzen artisan. Drawn by hand, and made by hand. A picture of my face, drawn by my wife. A drawing of my wife, done by me. How pure and open can I be with these private moments in my life? Through a variety of methods, I believe we were able to concretely express this seasons concept.

Unique products with personality. We tried hard to fill this collection with products made by real human beings. This season was about the expression of our inner youth, which sometimes extended beyond the products in the collection. For instance, in this seasons lookbook I decided to include a picture of my wife and I, something I hadn't done before. It was an attempt to open up a personal side of myself to the public. I wonder what lies ahead as I open up little by little?

This youth that I've been talking about has nothing to do with age; it's a mind thing, the mind set of being free. Being youthful allows me to be in the moment. I watch my daughter, who is 9 years old, and when she is here, she only cares about here. Growing older and being aware of different things has its advantages, but as I look at young people I feel refreshed because I can see that they are here right now. This is true of my daughter and I want it to be true for me as well; although I am 44, I want to strive to live in the moment, not always thinking about my upcoming appointments and obligations. That is the beauty of youth. I designed this collection thinking about these types of things.

Designing the SS15 collection was so much fun. There was a lot of drawing, and many late nights with no sleep, but it was great coming together and completing the collection with my team. Our joyful youth, in the end, ultimately reflected the spirit of this collection. To all of my team and the people who were involved, supporters from all over the world, and my wife Kelsi, who designs the collection with me:
"Thank you very much for your support and doing this with me, I am happy with this collection. Arigatou"

Hiroki Nakamura

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