Interview & Report

Nobuyuki Matsui

Nobuyuki Matsui

Nobuyuki Matsui Designer

Nobuyuki Matsui grew up in Japan and move to U.K to study psychology, then transferred to London college of fashion to study menswear accomplished at pattern cutting and sewing with a specific interest in innovative surface textile and tailoring. During London fashion week, experience with catwalk show at freemason hall, awarded with the Prize in FAD competition. Work experience from some of the young designer brands in London. Stating his own brands from Autumn and Winter collection 2016 which is based on bespoke order and launched first ready to wear collection from Spring and Summer collection 2018. as ready to wear collection.

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Praised for his sure skill and high quality of his creations based on bespoke wear, Nobuyuki Matsui has been awarded the TOKYO FASHION AWARD 2019. Although it has been difficult to carry out aggressive overseas developments after winning the award due to the worldwide pandemic, he has decided to participate and present a runway show at Rakuten Fashion Week TOKYO, for the first time in 2 years. We spoke to Mr. Matsui, the designer who leads this brand which has established a unique position in Japan’s men’s wear, on his upcoming 22SS collection soon to be presented, and the present situation of the brand.

First, could you please tell us of the brand’s business status, after winning the TOKYO FASHION AWARD 2019 up to now?

After the award, we held an exhibition at Paris and presented a runway show at Tokyo, but just as we started to receive offers from overseas the global pandemic started, so in truth, presently, specific overseas business has stopped there. Although we are presently unable to hold overseas shows or exhibits, I am continuing creation constantly conscious of overseas markets. As for domestic business, while holding various PUP-Ups and exhibits starting with the Isetan Shinjuku store, I presently have 20~25 accounts. I operate the brand with a minimal number of staff and the brand is still in its growth stage, but I am doing everything possible towards fulfilling my aim of overseas developments.

Just when things were beginning to move towards your aim, the pandemic broke out. But despite being amid such difficult situations, you will be presenting a runway show at Rakuten Fashion Week TOKYO for the first time in 2 years, won’t you! Please tell us why you decided to do a physical presentation at this timing.

During this whole time, I have been contemplating how to create relationships with business partners amid this COVID-19 crisis, and the fact that the fashion week term had been set ahead to be held in August from this SS season was the clincher in my deciding to participate. As a brand, being able to hold the presentation at the timing we wish to show to overseas parties is an important factor. I believe that runway presentations are the best way to appeal to overseas markets. It is extremely important to have people surely see the collection, so to me, physical shows have only positive values. Also, it is an extreme honor to do a presentation at the fashion week in Tokyo, which has the history of being built up by the participation of designers whom I respect. I think there is nothing more fabulous than the excitement of seeing a runway show, and as long as we continue to present new collections, I think show presentations are an absolute must. There are senses which cannot be conveyed through a screen. For example, in the 20SS season, I gave a presentation using acoustic echo of glass, incorporating a device of having the guests feel live music with their whole body. Shows are valuable opportunities for brands, and something I pray will not disappear.

Within the scope that you can disclose, could you please tell us about your ideas for this show?

I am planning a show which can be done only at this timing and can be done only by us. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at first glance, it seems like the relationship between people has become distant, but I feel it has actually become closer, and I wish to show this physical and spiritual sense of distance in this time’s show. This time I’ve invited media related people only, but we are also scheduling a live transmission of the show, through which I hope many people will see. After the show, we will be holding an exhibit at the same venue, so for buyers, I am planning to have them enjoy the reverberations of the show and feel the world view of the brand while examining the collection.

Please tell us also about the theme of your 22SS collection.

The collection theme is “curtains”. Curtains which are a vague borderline, is both a part of the outdoors and indoors, effected from both outside and inside, which a feel is a peculiar and extremely attractive existence. It is a theme which was born through being moved by daily petty things as a reaction to a lack of input due to not being able to roam around freely. There are items which people will think, “is this really wearable?”. Rather than capturing clothes according to preconception or conventional rules, I hope people will look at how it looks on the models as they walk down the runway, with the image of looking through a curtain, and judge whether it feels beautiful or not. By transmitting diverse interpretations through fashion, standardized way of thought becomes freed. In order to have people think clothes are beautiful, clothes are fun, I am making a variety of suggestions with vague borderlines, through selection of textiles and sizing.

It sounds like an approach different from your past presentations, and we are looking forward to seeing your presentation! Rakuten Fashion Week TOKYO is keeping an eye on ways of fashion to be sustainable. How are you dealing with this theme?

I am creating items utilizing industrial waste or discarded factory metal molds as parts. However, with this said, I think it is impossible to achieve 100% sustainability in clothing. As art cannot be completed without margins, there are necessary wastes in clothes. In creating one article, textiles are cut numerous times, sawn and re-sawn, with different processes done and redone, so in truth, garbage comes out. With that in mind, my wish is to create clothes which will be worn dearly for a long period of time. By humbly facing my task, I intend to create items with true value, which will be chosen to be worn in a wardrobe 10 years in the future.

Please tell us your future aspirations, as a brand and as a designer.

As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic settles down, I hope to move my base overseas, but for now, I intend to continue doing those things I can do in my own pace and grow as a company also. No matter the form in which it is held, I hope to continue presenting runway shows.

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