Interview & Report




Dispatching the "NEW STANDARD" by verifying the value of the new generation. Teaming up with Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO starting 3/17(Mon), we will be holding "N/E/W/S/T/D", the global exhibition that combines multiple events including trade show, installation, and art exhibition by various Japanese brands and creators representing modern Tokyo under the theme of "NEW STANDARD". We verify the value of the new generation and call the new creation comes from it, the "NEW STANDARD" as the theme of the project. We dispatch the fresh creations born in Japan by introducing the products and the activities of Japanese creators with new sense of value to all over the world.

Date&Time March 20 (Wed, Holiday) - 22 (Fri), 2013
20 (Wed, Holiday) 15:00-21:00
21 (Thu) 12:00-20:00
22 (Fri) 12:00-20:00
*By invitations only.
Venue Shibuya Hikarie 9F Hikarie Hall Hall B, 8F COURT & CUBE

From March 20 to 22 during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo 2013-14 A/W, the composite event called “N/E/W/S/T/D Global Exhibition” is to be held at Shibuya Hikarie, combining a trade show, art installation and exhibition. We interviewed Gypsy Three Orchestra’s KIRA, who is behind this unprecedented attempt to link Japan’s diverse creativity in fashion, fine arts, music, etc. transcending genres and generations with the keyword “New Standard”.

What has been the focuses in developing “N/E/W/S/T/D GLOBAL EXHIBITION”?

KIRA:The primary premise of this project was to disseminate Japanese fashion to the world, and creating specific opportunities for business and distribution. Visiting displays during the Fashion Week has become the routine work for media personnel and merchandisers. Having to visit various places alone would make it a tiring task. This is why I wanted this event to be something a lot more than just a display of new items. I wanted to create a venue that offers something that leaves a lasting impression or leads to a greater potential in the future. Gypsy Three Orchestra has served as an intermediary to get DJs, artists and even architects involved to present the diverse presentation of Japan’s creative talents under a single roof.

What is your message behind the exhibition title “New Standard”?

KIRA:Ever since the major earthquake, Japan has seen the emergence of independently-acting people who are opting to take approaches different from the conventional systems. I wanted to work with these new forces to create something innovative. For example, and FRANK, who are our partners in this event, are operating beyond the conventional framework of online radio or media. I don’t know how to explain it articulately, but I feel that there are new and interesting teams and people emerging to set the new standard for everyone, regardless of generations. This is how I chose people to get involved this time.

What kind of contents are on offer at the exhibition venue?

KIRA:The 8th floor of Shibuya Hikarie, where the exhibition takes place, is mainly a gallery showcasing artists’ creations and “Common Sleeve” display, which embodies the value of “sharing”. Participating brands’ visual installations and talk shows are also planned. The 9th floor has display booths for participating brands. The floor also features the section called “N/E/W/S/T/D-BOX”, which adopts the acrylic display box format, typically seen in Akihabara and Nakano Broadway for displaying and selling cartoon characters’ figures. People from the fashion, music and art industries will display items that represent their values in each of the acrylic boxes. While there is no general admission to the 9th floor, exhibits at the “N/E/W/S/T/D-BOX” will be shown online. Special exhibition catalogs will be distributed at the exhibition venue and selected stores. The website will also be featuring participating brands’ image photos, live streaming of the opening party / workshops, and event archives to ensure that a wide variety of people can take part with no time or place constraints.

Can you describe the venue’s spatial composition?

KIRA:This time, the architects team called OSKA & Partners, who are well-versed in uniquely Japanese materials, have configured the booth layout in an approach different from a typical joint exhibition, under the theme of traditional Japanese festivals. A traditional Yagura tower, an essential element of Japanese festivals, is set up with a DJ booth at the top, instead of the traditional Japanese Taiko drums. The space is generally produced to remind visitors of Japanese topography. We have tried to present the unique elements of Japan in a totally different light.

You seem to be quite particular about “Japan’s originality”.

KIRA: At the start of this project, I looked into various joint exhibitions across Asia, and found that none of them has broken free of the typical western style. There is no point in being a copycat. While in search for originality, I came to the conclusion that we should focus on the history and uniqueness of our nation. In the course of having consultation sessions with people from various industries, I was able to start seeing Japanese culture and circulation system with fresh perspectives, and felt a powerful urge to create unconventional identities and systems for Japan, and link them to the rest of the world. The direction we seek appears to be same regardless of which industry we are in.

Do you have any particular feelings toward past initiatives by Japanese brands and industries for reaching overseas?

KIRA:Until now, the Japanese market was so active that we did not have to venture out into overseas markets. However, market conditions are becoming tougher and tougher amidst the rapid cooling of our economy. Yet, neither the brands nor media are prepared to get out there and test themselves. Some items might be accepted and appreciated as the expression of original creativity, born from within the closed Japanese market. However, when it comes to actually marketing “made in Japan” products overseas, businesses are finding it hard to gain information about distribution or tariffs, or connect with overseas parties that embrace and market their products in their respective counties.

Brands must arm themselves with mentality or know-how for communicating their ideas overseas.

KIRA:In today’s business environment, you can utilize video, photos and space as well as fashion shows to showcase your products around the world. This is why I asked all the brands to consciously design their booths for presenting the brand’s world in this exhibition. A joint exhibition is a wonderful tool for gathering numerous merchandisers and brands under a single roof. We must question why this format had not developed more until now. I thought that, by setting up occasions like this, we can help these brands put more time and energy into creative matters.

Parties that play such a bridging role might be emerging with an increasing importance.

KIRA:The difficulty that innovative brands face in expanding into overseas markets lies significantly in the overwhelming shortage of good translators today. My driving force comes from the sense of frustration from seeing such intriguing brands struggle. There are some Japanese brands that can survive by only marketing their products overseas. They are the ones who know how to approach overseas markets through experiences. That is why they are very light-footed. I want to see events like this lead to a Cinderella story of the fashion industry, so that many other brands start to feel that such success is not beyond their capacity.

It looks like this exhibition will become a major inspiration for participating brands.

KIRA:Today, there are so many interesting things happening outside the fashion industry, and we should be able to find clues for solving our issues. Fashion is about reflecting the cutting edge mentality of the times to your lifestyles and advocating it to others. I think anything that embodies lifestyles, such as clothes, music, technology and foods, can be called “fashion”. When the fashion industry began to feel a sense of stagnation several years ago, a lot of people began to perceive creation as something separate from lifestyle. Yet, creators must embody lifestyle, and new talents would be drawn to such “places where people who create are gathered and having fun”. That is something that is lacking in today’s fashion industry.

Do you plan to continue these types of projects in the future?

KIRA:Continuation is most important of all. Fashion Week is like a cultural festival of the fashion industry. It is crucial for the industry to create a momentum and gather energy to it. Once making all-out efforts to present their ideas in such an event starts to lead to business opportunities, the creator side should be able to feel more at ease. We still have the chance of producing a joint exhibition that establishes Japan as the hub of fashion in Asia. Japan has the greatest brand power in Asia and items produced with the Japanese sense of aesthetics are definitely accepted internationally. Our job now is to create a system for communicating Japanese creations so that people overseas would feel they have not had experienced enough unless they pay a visit to Tokyo.

INTERVIEW by Yuki Harada

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