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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Interview with h.NAOTO at Anime Weekend Atlanta


 


Could we begin with a brief history of your time as a designer?


It was in middle school when I decided that I wanted to become a fashion designer and in high school I entered a design club. After high school I went to Bunka Fukuso Gakuin where I learned about the fashion industry, and after graduating I started to work for S-inc.


What is your idea of beauty in the terms of fashion?


Difficult question! Beauty, in my mind, is not the tailored or well-made suit but more the worn, naturally damaged or distorted. A bit of a vintage feeling but very well-made, a vintage atmosphere… that’s where I feel beauty in clothing.


Out of all the lines that you’ve created in your career, is there one that stands out as a favorite?


Naoto7 and Dark Red Rum.


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You once had an L-sized line (h.Juliette), any chances of something similar being released in the near future?


Some items have medium and large, but I’m not really focusing to make big sizes... but in the future I’m going to really try to make different sizes.


What artists, musicians or otherwise, would you like to collaborate with?


Recently, I did a collaboration with HYDE. (HALLOWEEN PARTY) I don’t have a wish list of who to collaborate with, that’s not really what I’m looking for right now. He and I are both really interested in a different form of creativity, so I’m more interested to do a collaboration to create something else with HYDE.


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Could you describe your partnership with the other designers at K-incs?


IBI entered S-incs as a shop staffer in Kyoto, he later moves to Tokyo as a manager of one of the stores, but was really interested in doing graphic design and to become a designer. I gave him the chance to draw the graphics for the “Rockers H Baby” brand and his works were very well received.


MINT entered S-inc as the fashion designer for Sixh. (He was the only designer for Sixh. at the time) but it wasn’t working out that well. So we decided on a totally new direction of IBI and MINT working together to create one brand, and collaborated with musicians, they tried many other directions and a new era of Sixh. was born.


Gashicon entered as an illustrator and she started to work on the Naoto7 brand as a graphic designer. At the time we were looking to create a character brand with gothic and punk theme, so Gashicon began to draw and develop the Hangry&Angry characters.


Z8 entered S-inc as my assistant and aided in creating clothes for Naoto7 and created more of the dark yet girly style and was really good at it. We thought that maybe we should separate the brand, which at the time resulted in Naoto GRIMM. She started to grow and work by herself and we knew we were going to have to have a new brand, we didn’t want to keep using GRIMM, and that was GRAMM.


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What would you like to see more in the world of fashion?


I can’t really answer that question; I don’t want to point at any particular wish. I feel that everyone is conscious and what I see in Japan… it’s very different from what I see internationally. I found out when I came to the United States, people wear my clothes and “sexy” is beautiful. In Japan it’s very different… but I just like to see that people are excited and interested in fashion.


Alongside fashion, what other interests would you like to venture out to?


I have various interests for the future to expand my creativity for example, a restaurant or a whole building, interior design, producing TV programs. Other than fashion there are many possibilities that I’m interested in, but just wishes.


If you could open up another h.NAOTO store in the states, what is your ideal location and why?


We’re talking about making one in LA, but just hoping right now. It’s not only the store though, I feel we should probably make a gallery and showroom, that is the kind of place we really want to have, but nothing is confirmed.


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What's the biggest difference to you between an American event and in-store events over in Japan?


Between Japan and America, at first the in-store events look very different, but when I start interacting with the customers everything is the same. Sometimes I feel like ‘Is this Japan, or America?’ the shape is different, but the intimacy is the same.


Would you ever consider doing a FRILL tea party at a convention in the near future?


It’s a new challenge and if I can try something different then, yes, definitely I’d like to challenge that


Are there any designers that you admire or inspire to be like?


I love Yohji Yamamoto, I really want to kind of follow in his footsteps.


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Is there any advice that you would give to inspiring designers, and any suggestions for those wanting to work in Japan as a designer?


I don’t want to say just ‘Good luck and work hard.’ This doesn’t mean anything to anybody.


Today I had a mentor session, and I was surprised that these designers made clothes very well. One of the designers that came, I asked her ‘What do you want?’ and she said that she wanted to make Lolita clothes that you could wash at home. I think that’s a great idea.


So it’s really difficult, people ask for advice and I have no advice right now… but what I can say is that this is a great idea and if you believe this is great you’re going to have to put in the effort and believe in your creativity.


Keep doing what you believe, and aspire to inspire somebody else.


Any closing words you would like to tell our readers?


There are so many creative people in the world, creative builders for different elements. They inspire me all the time so I really try my best to catch up with those creative people.


Please support me, thank you.


 


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Find out more about h.NAOTO & KINCS at the following links;


 


 h.NAOTO Homepage // Facebook // Ameba Blog // US Homepage // US Web Shop // KINCS Homepage





 


[author] [author_image timthumb='off'] http://www.visual-keios.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Bibi.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]


This interview with h.NAOTO was conducted by Whitney Hopkins (Bibi) & Alicia R. Thomas (ARThomas)


Visual KEIOS would like to give a special thank you to h.NAOTO for speaking with us, as well as to representatives and translator, Yaz.


[/author_info] [/author]


 

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2 comments :

  1. I hope that one day he'll open a store in Little Five Points... *crosses fingers* :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice - his commentary on the other designers and contributors to S-inc was really interesting

    ReplyDelete

 
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