Interview & Report



Presentation Peport & Interview

“SAVE THE ENERGY” is supposed to be a familiar theme for us. It is thought naturally around the world but needs to be faced more in Japan. This time, the theme of the “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT” is denim, which Japan is great in and we plan to show during the fashion week in the future on a regular basis.

On the first day of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO 2016, the ‘SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT’, a newly planned launch event sponsored by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, was held at Hikarie Hall A of Shibuya Hikarie.  A video, created by the spirited video director, Kensaku Kakimoto, was shown, along with a presentation by the project’s official ambassador, Arata Iura.
The theme of this project, “SAVE THE ENERGY”, has been an important theme in fashion industries abroad, for years.  Here, is a report on the presentation of the event, along with an interview with Mr. Kakimoto, Mr. Iura and Mr. Mimaki.



The ‘SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT’, is aimed to promote energy conservation efforts in fashion related industries, by introducing products/distributions/services born under such efforts, and to thereby raise the consumer’s “power to save energy” awareness, wisely and stylishly, through fashion.  This being the launch of this project, it was focused on ‘denim’, which is a world-class material that Japan prides itself in, and an industry in which individual companies have been coping with this matter for years, each in their own way.

Once the venue at Hikarie Hall was filled with journalists, media and industry related people, the lights were turned down, and a video created by Mr. Kakimoto was shown on the screen.  Slides of realities in energy consumption, and burdens caused on earth atmospheres involved in cloth making, were explained in comprehensively illustrated graphs, flowing rhythmically in-synch with Mr. Iura’s narration.  Suggesting to the viewer the concept that an individual can participate in energy conservation, by purchasing products created with energy conservation efforts, which is the underlying idea behind “power to save energy”.

Shown next was an interview footage of Mr. Yoshiharu Kaihara, Chairman of Kaihara Corporation, which produces approximately 50% of domestic blue denim, at their factory located in Fukuyama city, Hiroshima prefecture.  Kaihara Corporation utilizes a cogeneration system, which makes use of excess heat from the boilers to heat water.  In the video, Mr. Kaihara says, “From now on, one cannot produce without facing global environmental problems”.

Next shown was an interview with Mr. Takehisa Tashiro, managing director of HOWA Corporation, factory located in Kurashiki city, Okayama prefecture.  Since 3 years ago, HOWA Corporation has been using an energy conserving heat exchange system, which utilizes drainage heat to warm water used for dye/processing.  He says that the introduction of this system has allowed for an annual 2 million yen decrease in gas costs.  In addition, instead of handling pumice stone and mud generated through the process of denim as industrial waste, they are working on its reuse as fertilizer.  Furthermore, although damage processing is usually done by blasting sand on the fabric with a blast machine, in order to decrease atmospheric burdens, they now add damage processes using a laser processing machine.



After the showing of the approximately 7 minute video, Mr. Iura, the ambassador of the project, stood up in the midst of the silent venue, highlighted by a spot-light.



Then, with a microphone in hand, he quietly began to speak, “I don’t intend to speak of complicated things today.  Rather, since I have been blessed with this opportunity to talk to you, I would like to hear the opinions of those of you here tonight, working in the fashion industry”.  He, himself, having entered the world of fashion in his late teens, and being the creator of ‘ELNEST CREATIVE ACTIVITY’, tried an interactive presentation involving the venue filled with a fashion industry related audience, on themes such as “the attraction of fashion”, and “what makes fashion cool”.  Despite the fact that it was a surprise development, many media people and designers in the audience, including Mr. Teppei Fujita, designer of the TOKYO FASHION AWARD 2015 winning brand, ‘sulvam’, raised their hand to participate.




Mr. Iura was wearing a jacket, made with fabrics produced by Kaihara Corporation, with a “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT” logo.  He ended the presentation by passionately stating that “today’s presentation is not the start.  If and when this project becomes to be known widely throughout the apparel industry and beyond, that will be the true start”.




Mr. Kensaku Kakimoto
Director / Videographer / Photographer

When I first heard the overview of the “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT”, quite honestly, I thought it was a complicated, difficult to approach theme.  Because of this first impression on mine, I thought it would be best not to use negative expressions as much as possible this time, in the production of the video.  Nowadays, we hear words such as ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainable’, all over the place.  But instead of starting off with images of such words, I wanted people to acknowledge it as a problem close to their hearts, and enjoy participating in this project, through fashion.  We, the project team went through extensive discussions in shaping this presentation.  We want people to deal with this problem, not by giving up things or forcefully, but in a natural way, by connecting it to items and things that they like, things that they could relate to, and think is cool.
These days, in food, the “visualization” of who made what, where, is becoming commonplace.  If we can do the same in clothing, make production processes and/or faces behind production visible, I think it will clarify the framework of the “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT”, even more.  In preparation of this project, I visited both Kaihara Corporation and HOWA Corporation to study actual production processes at their factory, and was surprised at their techniques, such as creating a used-look through data processing by a laser machine.  Many of their techniques were beyond my imagination.  I edited the visuals with such sights and scenery that surprised me.  I would be happy if the video conveys the “power to save energy” as a positive message to the viewers.

Mr. Arata Iura

“SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT”, is a project to suggest, production with an awareness towards nature and global environments.  I’m not denying the fashion of today, but being involved in making things myself, I have felt that ‘fast, cheap, large lots’ type of production is out-of-date and obsolete.  To me, the attraction of fashion is “being able to become something of someone”, to be able to appeal to the spirits of people wearing my cloths, through these things called clothing.  I think that today, it is not enough for creators to simply make what they please.  They need to know what they want to make but also face society at the same time.  I think the awareness of creators will continue to rise, and it is becoming so that it is not enough for consumers to simply chase the ‘in’ look in fashion.  The true enjoyment of fashion, its true cool is not simply what can be seen on the outside, but rather, hidden in the background and spirits.
In my point of view, the concept of the “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT” is nothing new.  Rather, it is an idea that is deeply rooted in the spirit of Japanese creators, existing from ancient times.  And from now-on, it would be ideal if the “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT” logo should be subtly put into clothing on a daily basis, as a standard in fashion, like the Wool mark logo used to be.  For that, this project needs to spread, not only to designer brands that appear in Fashion Week, but also to outdoor brands, sports brands, street brands, etc., throughout the whole apparel industry.  I would also like the media to help us spread this project in a fun, enjoyable way.  I hope, that from here on, the fashion industry can march into the future, with a new set of values.

Mr. Junichiro Mimaki
Deputy Director
Efficiency and Conservation Division
Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Over the years, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been promoting energy saving activities in many ways, for example, by regulation through the energy saving law, renewal of facilities to energy saving types, top-runner system.  This is the first for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy to be involved in a project in the fashion field.
Hopes to make a presentation to the general public through fashion, was how this project got started.
In the “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT”, the government and private sector join hands in efforts to solicit selection of products with high “power to save energy”, thereby indirectly inducing corporations’ efforts to save energy even more.  The aim is for the fashion industry to become more active, as a result of support gained from such energy saving endeavors of related corporations developing into business opportunities, and for such energy saving efforts to root in the industry as a whole, thus creating an even larger energy saving effect.
From here-on, in addition to our existing measure, in order to facilitate further energy saving efforts, we intend to strengthen individual energy saving measures by industry.  As the power of saving energy spreads among the private sector, not only will a decrease in energy consumption be realized, but at the same time, there must be a realization of growth in business.  The launch theme material of the first “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT” was “denim”, we intend to spread the project to other materials, to makers, cooperation with whole-sellers, retailers, alike, creating system in which products with the “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT” logo can be bought, and showing the production process of clothing, through cooperating between designers and makers.  For the realization of all this, we intend to continue working in cooperation with Fashion Week, with this project.

INTERVIEW by Shinya Miyaura

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