Miyuki Omichi / Ayumi Kita
Miyuki Omichi - Birthday: 4/12, Sign: Aries, Blood type: O. Ayumi Kita - Birthday: 7/9, Sign: Cancer, Blood type: A. Launched the “foundation addict” brand in 2005, and worked as its designers up to the 2008 S/S collection. Upon returning in 2009 after a year-and-a-half charging period, they launched their new brand “plumpynuts,” and also opened the shop for their brand, “SHOW CASE by plumpynuts”, in Jingumae. This shop relocated and opened again at the end of April 2011. For the 2011 A/W season, they began a limited line titled “TOKYO REWORKERS by O.K.” This lineup consists of special pieces which reuses items from their collection archives.
Miyuki Omichi and Ayumi Kita; the dynamic designer duo that launched the “foundation addict” brand and instantaneously gained the devotion of the women in Tokyo. Upon returning from their year-and-a-half charging period, they launched their new brand “plumpynuts.” Wielding their profound grasp of the times and coordination sensibilities, this brand continues to create “real clothes” that are both playful and full of surprises. Just recently, the plumpynuts store “SHOW CASE by plumpynuts” relocated and opened again. A limited line called “TOKYO REWORKERS by O.K.” has also been started by these designers. We asked these designers, whose brand entered its second year yet venturing forth to tackle new challenges.
We hear your new line “TOKYO REWORKERS by O.K.” (“REWORKERS” hereafter) will start in the 2011 A/W season.
Omichi: Items in the “REWORKERS” line are based on the plumpynuts collection archives, and strive to produce special and unique items. I always thought it was a shame we had items and samples left in our shop warehouse, which led to me to think about starting a line by reusing them. Since we had some free time as our brand had entered its second year, we decided to start this new line this season.
Kita: We put a lot of time and effort into each individual clothing item, while discussing all sorts of things between the two of us. We have a different attitude in mind than when making items for our main lines; and as creators, we put special kinds of thought into this creation.
Omichi: There’s a reason we call these items “reworks” instead of “remakes.” It’s because we want to create totally different clothes by working on past items. Even if we didn’t start out trying to make “eco-friendly” or “recycled” items, we may have ended up doing so anyways. The fact that these items are totally unique carries an enjoyment we hope our customers can share too.
“TOKYO REWORKERS by O.K”
Do you two always discuss how to make clothes for all your lines, and not just for “REWORKERS” ?
Kita: Yes, we do. We’re often asked about how our work is divided, but we don’t have that at all (laughs). Our creative process begins by talking about the image we want the clothes to have, or what we’re feeling right then, and we gradually solidify the design by visiting secondhand stores and gaining excitement.
Omichi: Our tastes in fashion have always been very similar. I’ve never met anyone who naturally enjoyed the same styles that I do, and it’s also the reason we decided to start a brand together. Fashion aside, our personalities are really very different (laughs). Though we both have our own tastes and areas of expertise, there’s lots of overlap between them. These overlaps are put forth through the “plumpynus” brand.
How did you spend your time between quitting “foundation addict” and starting the “plumpynuts” brand?
Omichi: It might be a little cliche, but it was a charging period for us. We were fortunate enough to receive immediate praise when we started our previous brand, and it was a dash towards the top from that point for the three and a half years that followed. After quitting “foundation addict,” we sort of stopped and reset our lives. We didn’t contact each other for a while, and spent a life doing whatever we liked away from fashion for a year and a half.
Kita: During that time, we didn’t even dream about starting a new brand together. I don’t think I’ve ever lived as relaxed and simply as I did then (laughs).
Omichi: That was all well and good, but after about a year, I started feeling I wanted to make clothes again. When I talked to her (Kita) about it, I found out she felt the same way. We decided that, if we could enjoy making clothes in our own unique way without being forced to, then we should establish a company and start a new brand.
Did this charging period affect or change your creations at all?
Kita: The collections designed towards the end for our old brand were more showy and luxurious. But when we started designing again, our items ended up being more relaxed. It might be because of the simple lives we’d been leading until then. I thought it was really interesting that we both ended up making the same type of designs, even though we had been living completely out of touch with one another.
Omichi: During my time-off, I noticed that I didn’t have as many casual, yet fashionable clothes for little trips out and such as I thought I did. It really hit home that I’d been one-sided working in the fashion industry for so long. For the most part, our tastes haven’t really changed, but I feel like we discovered something new by taking it easy, which really broadened the scope of our clothes designs.
Please tell us what you consider important when designing.
Kita: We share a common image of “femininity.” When we’re designing, we focus on the coolness, sexiness, and other parts of that image which really appeal to us. Also, we never design solo pieces; each item is always made with a wardrobe coordination in mind.
Omichi: We design the clothes and its recommended coordination so that it could be provided whenever it’s desired. A big factor in our designs is making clothes we ourselves would want to wear, to the point where I think our biggest fans are ourselves and the plumpynuts staff. But that doesn’t mean our clothes will only match other plumpynuts items. With plumpynuts, we aim to expand the range of styles in any of our customers’ closets, even with the addition of only own one of our items.
Tell us about your 2011-12 A/W collection.
Kita: With us, we usually choose the material before we begin designing. For this collection, we sort of ended up with mostly checkered cloths and other “classic” materials. Because of this, our collection became centered on the traditional British style of the 60s. Even though many of the items have a billowy silhouette, such as long coats and baggy pants, it doesn’t lean too far towards these classical tastes, but is made sure to bring out a prettiness while remaining dandy-ish.
Omichi: We added mode sensibilities and playfulness to classic items such as ponchos and duffle coats, striving to bring out femininity while using distinct colors and materials.
plumpynuts 2011-12 A/W collection
* Click here for the 2011-12 A/W collection
How do the two of you decide your themes for each season?
Kita: We go with what we feel at the moment when choosing a theme, so we usually don’t narrow down the theme to a single point.
Omichi: When you choose a theme or concept, you often end up only designing with that image in mind. But we like making what appeals to us at that moment without being restricted by a set theme, so we try not to have one decided in advance.
The “SHOW CASE by plumpynuts” store reopened in April this year after relocating. Could you tell us a little about this store?
Omichi: We had a Parisian apartment theme in mind for the interior, but we wanted to create a space that could freely be used for anything we were interested in, such as exhibiting art or selling CDs, and wasn’t just limited to selling clothes. We are currently featuring the works of Naoto Kitamura, an artist living in Oita who did a live painting in our store as an event during our grand reopening. Mr. Kimura has also put up some of his works for use in our “LOVE FOR NIPPON” flea market, and has worked with us in various areas.
It seems like this store will become a place where people can learn about artists in various other fields.
Kita: Yes, I think so too. I definitely want to do lots of things with people in other fields. For example, I like cooking and Omichi likes cosmetics, so we might be able to do things collaborating with people in those fields. I hope we can make things that can be used daily and are not just limited to culture or the arts.
“-pynuts (peanut) charms
You mentioned “LOVE FOR NIPPON” earlier – please tell us a little bit more about that.
Omichi: It’s a project which was launched by mainly Candle JUNE, Minmi, and Wakadanna of Shonan No Kaze after the recent earthquake. We received an offer to participate as part of the starting members. We’ve participated in charity flea markets, cooked meals at the affected areas, and made “-pynuts (peanut) charms” with the proceeds going to charity. Thanks to everyone’s support, we’ve already collected quite a large amount of donations. It really made me feel that a single voice could lead to a big help. There may be many different ways of thinking towards this recent disaster, but we want to keep doing what we do best and what only we can do, to show our support.
Kita: This earthquake struck with less than one month left before our store relocation. While many brands were voluntarily postponing or cancelling their shows out of respect for the affected right after the disaster, we spent lots of time thinking about what we ourselves should do. We eventually ended up doing a charity / shop reopening event, which many people attended. There were many people who were cheered up after attending this event, which really made me feel that the people of Tokyo shouldn’t all just feel gloomy together but focus on doing business right to help the economy gain momentum. I truly and honestly feel that doing the event was a good thing.
Tell us about some of the things you would like to do with this brand in the future.
Omichi: We want more of our clothes to be available overseas. We want the “REWORKERS” line that recently started to function as a business, and not end up being a pet project. A part of me hopes that things like this will end up being the trigger that helps make our clothes become available in other countries.
Kita: I hope that the plumpynuts brand, which we started by establishing a company together, will not end as a one-time thing. Instead, I want it to be a down-to-earth project and something to be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Omichi: I’d be very happy if 10 years from now, there is instant recognition when you ask somebody about plumpynuts.