GLOBERIDE, Inc. Corporate Executive Officer
March 2017, D-VEC launched from GLOBERIDE, Inc.
Same month and year, a street-level store, D-VEC TOKYO (presently closed) opened at cat street, Harajuku.
2018, showroom opened at the “ifs FUTURE LABORATORY” (within Itochu Garden).
February 2019 opened “D-VEC TOKYO EXCLUSIVE” at Omotesando Hills.
From the 2021 SS collection, a designer formally working at a designer’s brand appointed as the designer.
In March 2017, D-VEC was born from GLOBERIDE, a general sports maker, with fishing supplies being their main item. Participated in Fashion Week TOKYO between 2017~2019, and has been exhibiting at Pitti Immagine Uomo, the world’s largest men’s fashion exhibition held at Florence, 5 times consecutively since 2018. In the 2022SS season, presented a runway show at Rakuten Fashion Week TOKYO, under the theme, “FUSION”. Sublimating materials, fabrication/processing techniques cultivated in the field of fishing into urban fashion, thereby assigning new value to the fusion of functionality and design. D-VEC, which constantly faces new challenges. We spoke to their corporate executive officer, Mr. Kenichi Kobayashi, on their footsteps up to on and future prospects.
Please tell us about the background behind how D-VEC was born from GLOBERIDE, which handles mainly fishing supplies, in addition to golf, tennis supplies, etc.
We had been doing business under the name of Daiwa Seiko Co., Ltd., but upon celebrating our 50th anniversary, we decided to work on our corporate branding, and renew our management philosophy towards the next 50 years. At that time, we had the creative director Mr. Kashiwa Sato participate, and decided to change the company name to a more global one. With this, we rebranded our fishing business as “DAIWA”, which we had been handling as Daiwa, renewing the logo at the same time. Furthermore, to have more people acknowledge the brand, with the help of Mr. Kashiwa and stylists, we refurbished our “fishing” apparel, largely brushing it up to a more stoic, a more casual line. However, due to influences of the great earthquake and tsunami which occurred in 2011, we had no choice but to halt the trend of enjoying leisure activities. For a while, we held back on aggressive promotional activities, but after a few years, we decided to strengthen our apparels once again, and thereby launched D-VEC in 2017. Normally, companies would probably evolve from specializing in fishing wear to outdoor casual wear gradually, step-by-step, but we figured, “doing the common, normal thing” was no use, so we switched gear all at once with one giant leap to a collection brand.
Since 2017 when the brand was launched, you have been aggressively presenting shows at Nicofarre (no longer open), outdoors at ARK Hills. Was this aimed at spreading acknowledgement of the brand more among the general public?
Our participation in Fashion Week TOKYO in 2017 was a few days before the opening of our first shop, and we closed off cat street to utilize it as an outdoor runway. It is a public street so in realizing this we experienced quite many difficulties, but many people saw the show and we received great reactions to it. Our company is a newcomer in the fashion industry. Therefore, we need to differentiate ourselves from other brands, and clearly show our individuality. D-VEC started out as a premium brand, but at the same time, it is a brand which plays a part in outdoors wear. We feel, it is important to grow the brand by being conscious of BtoC, and have end-users become aware of how good our brand is. We intend to continue doing shows and/or events which will help in having customers become aware of the “DAIWA” brand.
What does the brand hold dearest?
Our corporate philosophy is “A Lifetime Sports Company”, but actually, fishing is also a battle against harsh environments. We continue to offer clothes which allows people to enjoy fishing regardless of harsh climates or weather, such as under the blazing sun in 40℃ heat, extreme cold of under -10℃, heavy rains or storms. And in D-VEC, which is a premium apparel brand, we hold dear delivering to our customers, one-and-only products fusing functionality cultivated in “fishing” and luxuriant fashionability. Rather than being functionality only, by adding original aspects as fashion, we provide fashion utilizing cutting edge technology in urban life, which is affected also by guerrilla rainstorms, fierce heat waves and other negative influences due to climatic change. We feel, diverting and fusing weight reduction technology and others cultivated by “fishing” into urban life is, the brand’s one-and-only value. A representative item would be the umbrella, a fashion sundries. Utilizing the knowhow of carbon molding, which is a mainstay technology in fishing rods, we have realized a light-weight umbrella, approximately the same weight as one egg. Furthermore, we are aggressively developing wear utilizing moisture permeable waterproof materials, which releases only gaseous bodies within clothes, such as steam or humidity, thereby ventilating and preventing uncomfortable “stuffiness”.
Pursuing functionality to the max, while at the same time, secure fashionability. In realizing this, we imagine you must have faced grave difficulties in technology aspects and pricing. How did you deal with that?
In “fishing”, functionality is prioritized, and importance is placed on speck. However, in the world of fashion, texture and feel is important. Therefore, for example we utilize ultra-water repellent threads in ordinary, comfortable knits, and in inner wear, we utilize materials which absorbs humidity and changes it to heat or is quick drying. We faced many difficulties in creating apparel which looks ordinary, but you can “feel the difference when worn”. In sewing also, when sewn normally, a lump appeared in the inside which touched the skin, along with becoming thick and heavy. So, we utilized an adhesion technique used in fishing wear of adhering materials to become flat, thereby eliminating lumps and realizing light weight. Furthermore, we add a process to add durability. Our pricing is not low, but sometimes, knowledgeable customers are surprised at our prices. Also, D-VEC does not do sales. Generally, in bargain sales, prices are established to gain profit even if prices are lowered, but because we do not do sales, we are able to lower our prices at all times. Even in items utilizing REDA ACTIVE, a material created by “REDA”, a high-class wool manufacturer representing Italy, we put effort in providing reasonable pricing.
Please tell us about the sentiment behind the 2022 S/S collection theme, “FUSION”.
In Japanese the word would be “yugo (fusion)”, and on the runway, we fused “D-VEC” items with “DAIWA” items. Also, still being in amid the corona pandemic, we expressed a fusion of on and off styles, by utilizing materials with a luxurious feel in home-wear. The set-up utilizing REDA ACTIVE knit material of “REDA” is exactly such an item. It is a knit in which you can relax in, but also fit to be worn also in remote business scenes. We are developing under the theme of fusion, answering to changes in the times.
We’ve heard, you exhibited the collection at a gallery in Omotesando, after the show.
In a show, it is difficult to fully convey characteristics of the materials used. So, we exhibited the items presented in the show at a gallery, thereby creating a place for the media and buyers to see the items up close. Not just see, but also have them try on wears to feel how light our items actually are, have them feel the texture, etc., etc. I think we were able to convey bodily sensations which could not be conveyed on the runway only.
Please tell us the prospects of the brand.
As we did this season, by providing a space at which people can directly touch our products after the show, we have been able to realize an experience-style offering. From here on, we hope to brush-up this “experience” further. In launching the brand, we carried out a digital show in the form of a digital showcase, but we were unable to convey the textures and feels of the materials. However today, not only communications technologies, but also in devices and application software, there exists a wide variety and is highly diverse, from old to new cutting-edge. Even if we present a digital show utilizing the latest technology, there is a possibility the data weight of the contents will become heavy due to various conditions, and difficult to have our show seen under ideal conditions. We feel we must offer contents which can be seen ideally by as many people as possible. We are also expanding our image, thinking it might be interesting to have a virtual model walk the runway, and have the clothes change as the walk down the runway. We intend to carry out promotional activities utilizing cutting edge technology, while pursuing the worldview which D-VEC possess as a brand.