SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT
Collaboration Creator, Yoshikazu Yamagata, interview / AmazonFWT 2018 A/W [RELATED EVENTS - Special]
What is the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT?
“SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT (STEP)”, was started up by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, in 2016. STEP is a project aimed at creating a system which strengthens the fashion industry’s efforts in conserving energy, by attaching new added values to corporations whom actively tackle energy conservation and products of such corporations, thereby increasing attraction of products of such corporations for better chance of being selected and spreading the market for products of such corporations.
“SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT (STEP)”, started up by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, in 2016. Having started its 3rd year, as this season’s activity, they will be hosting a runway show at Amazon Fashion Week TOKYO 2018 A/W featuring 2 brands which support the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT, “RYOTAMURAKAMI” and “PERMINUTE”, a POP-UP shop at “WARE-mo-KOU”, a select shop in Shibuya, and a mini-symposium in connection to the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT at “coconogacco”. Having been appointed the Collaboration Creator for this season, we have asked Mr. Yoshikazu Yamagata, representative of “writtenafterwards” / “coconogacco”, his thoughts on the SAVE THE ENEREGY PROJECT, to introduce this season’s efforts, his ideas on the relationship between energy conservation and fashion, etc.
When you were first approached about SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT what kind of developments did you have in mind?
Quite honestly, I hadn’t made any deep consideration towards energy or energy conservation, so I started by contemplating my role. As a result, instead of announcing some clear “suggestion” of something related to “SAVE THE ENERGY”, I arrived at the thought of, perhaps it is my role to make opportunities for people to consider “SAVE THE ENERGY” through this project, by linking it to multilateral activities centered around coconogacco. I myself, and the 2 designers participating in this project, have learned through this project, and so it is my wish that this will become an opportunity for people of younger generations whom will be entering the fashion industry in the future, to think about “what is SAVE THE ENERGY?”
As the Collaboration Creator of this project, what specifically were you in charge of?
I selected RYOTAMURAKAMI and PERMINUTE as the brands to make collection announcements on March 21st, under the support of the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT, and visited Sato co., ltd. (Nagano-prefecture) and A-GIRL’S CO., LTD. (Wakayama-prefecture), to ask for their support in the production of this season’s collection, as makers whom put effort into “SAVE THE ENERGY”. Sato co., ltd. will be cooperating in the production of part of the RYOTAMURAKAMI collection, and A-GIRL’S CO., LTD. will be cooperating in the production of part of the PERMINUTE collection.
Please tell us your impression of each factory, having visited them.
First, both Sato co., ltd. and A-GIRL’S are actively willing to work with young designers, so they were very cooperative, and I was very thankful for this. What I felt from visiting their factories is that, they treasure both skills which their craftsmen have accumulated over the years and modern technologies. For example, at A-GIRL’S, on one hand, they own a circular loom which was made over 100 years ago, the only one in the world, and at the same time they have introduced the world’s most advanced machines into their production line also. I felt, this ability of facing production with both low-tech and high-tech means, is the strength of Japanese production centers. This is something I learned through STEP this time, but from hereon, when I make outputs as a designer, I feel the need to make off-the-chart creations by joining tight forces with the skills of Japanese textile production centers. I intend to pursuit the digging up of traditional authentic Japanese skills passed down from the past, things which can only be done now using the latest technology, and designs which mix these two extremes. The concept of “SAVE THE ENERGY” in production places is often thought of as being tied to the introduction of the latest equipment, but I’ve learned there are many more things I need to place weight on if I am to continue creating, including respect towards authentic Japanese skills and craftsmen.
Scene of observation tour to the factory of Sato co., ltd. at Suwa-gun, Nagano-prefecture with RYOTAMURAKAMI Designer, Mr. Murakami
Scene of observation tour to the factory of A-GIRL’S CO., LTD. at Wakayama-city with PERMINUTE Designer, Mr. Hanzawa
We’ve heard you will be holding a mini-symposium on the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT at coconogacco, a school you host, which teaches fashion creation.
Yes. On March 25th, looking back at what we’ve done in this project, with RYOTAMURAKAMI Designer Mr. Murakami and PERMINUTE Designer Mr. Hanzawa, I intend to make this symposium an opportunity for people to think about “SAVE THE ENERGY”. It will be targeted towards the approximately 100 students of coconogacco. This is an event aimed to having young generations, both Japanese and international, whom are hopeful to be active in the fashion industry, bring the “SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT” itself “up for discussion”.
The official logo and certification mark of the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT, announced in March 2017. For details, please click here
To promote the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT further throughout the fashion industry and to consumers from hereon, what kind of activity or approach do you think is needed?
I think the official logo mark/certification mark of the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT is impressionable and cute, so like was done with the WOOLMARK, I think by attaching the mark to more products would be an ideal first opportunity for people to acknowledge this project. It would be great if this mark could be a sort of mark of trust, which signifies clothing with this mark is connected to the environment and the future. I also think it is important to have the activities of the SAVE THE EVERGY PROJECT promoted and acknowledged, so I am hoping this time’s fashion show and symposium will be an opportunity for this project to become widely recognized. I think it would be wonderful if there becomes a flow in which designers begin to say, “I want to work with factories supporting the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT”, and end-users begin to say, “I want to buy products of the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT”.
What are your thoughts on the topic of accommodating “fashionable” with “energy conservation”, and its possibilities.
I think it is a huge topic which must be discussed on a global scale. The first time I encountered the word “sustainability” was 14 years ago, in 2004, but seeing with my own eyes today, how the word “sustainability” has spread throughout the world compared to back then, I think the ideas of STEP will spread and become standardized in the future. coconogacco is entering its 10th year this year, and we are presently accepting students for the 19th term, but I feel students’ awareness is turning more and more, year to year, towards the origin of production, including production area, tradition and environment. Rather than simply idolizing cool things, I feel they are placing more weight on how to connect with society through fashion, and how to output accordingly, so I hope more and more designers will acknowledge and support the SAVE THE ENERGY PROJECT.
INTERVIEW by Shinya Miyaura
TRANSLATION by Aiko Osaki