TOKYO FASHION AWARD 2020, Winning Designer
YUKI HASHIMOTO graduated from Kyoto University of Art and Design in 2010. And he got at fashion department in Antwerp Royal Academy of fine arts. After finishing bachelor’s degree, accumulate experience at “RAF SIMONS”, “MAISON MARGIELA” and other brand. Yuki return to master program in the Academy. After graduation, he launched YUKI HASHIMOTO 2019 SPRING/SUMMER collection “BAD DAY CAMP” in July, 2018.
Studied fashion at the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts. After having experienced working as a design assistant at a European top maison as a student, Mr. Yuki Hashimoto launched his own brand, “YUKI HASHIMOTO”. Chosen as an award winner of TOKYO FASHION AWARD 2020, only a year after the launching of his brand in 2018, people are looking to him as the person to lead future fashion scenes. Presenting the brands very first runway show during the Rakuten Fashion Week TOKYO 2021 S/S held this past October, we talked to this rising star who gathered attention with his collection created under the image of “active clothes for outer-space”.
Since when did you want to work in the world of fashion?
I think it was around when I was 20 years old. I didn’t especially have a strong will to become a designer, but because my parents ran a clothes shop, I went on to study at a fashion department of a university of arts. through my studies there, I learned about Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and going there to study abroad after graduating was the final clincher in my aspiring to become a designer.
What did you learn at Antwerp?
In Japan, I learned the structure and techniques involved in clothes-making in order, but at Antwerp, emphasis was placed on steps prior to the actual clothes-making, such as thoroughly thinking through concepts. Thanks to learning at Antwerp, I think I have gained a scale in measuring good designs, bad designs, and now that I look back, I think it was a blessing to have been educated by completely different types of teachings.
Is it true that during your studies abroad, you experienced working as an assistant at KRISVANASSCHE, Raf Simons, and Maison Margiela?
Yes. Working under top designers of the world has been a great experience. Each had their own clothes-making process, but they were alike in the way they all formed a team to think and act as team, so I came to think that if/when I were to start up my own brand in the future, I would like to form a team in which each member can be a trouble shooter and solve problems on their own.
Please tell us how you came to start up your own brand.
After graduating from Antwerp, I had a choice of remaining in Europe to work. However, I figured, if I were to start my own brand, if I missed the timing of around 30 years old, which was how old I was then, my next chance wouldn’t come for another 10~15 years. Right around the end of my last year at Antwerp, I received a job offer from a Chinese company, so with that opportunity, I decided to return to Japan and launch my own brand.
Please explain your brand concept of “NEW ORDER”.
Originally, my wish was to make clothes which continues to advance with the times, while maintaining important details and functions. Rather than being constrained to comfort, at times I wanted to challenge myself in visual aspects also, so this word which is both powerful and holds the meaning of “new order”, was perfect in expressing my concept.
How do you decide on your seasonal themes?
I usually establish things I felt in the atmosphere surrounding me or flow of time, things which piqued my interest, as the theme. For example, outer-space was the theme I established in the 2021 spring/summer season which I did a show for in October at Tokyo, but this was because I felt this situation we are presently in midst this corona pandemic is becoming increasingly incomprehensible, so as an unordinary place I’ve never experienced before, I turned my attention to “outer-space”.
We’ve heard this collection is also inspired by the artist, Olafur Eliasson. Do you have a strong interest in art also?
Yes. I’ve also had an interest in art, however it is difficult to express myself like an artist in my brand, but at the same time, if I turn my eyes to business aspects only, I end up becoming detached from what I’ve wanted to make originally. For better or worse, there exists a dilemma within me that cannot be an artist, but all the more reason why a part of me is attracted to art, and therefore it often becomes a source of inspiration, as it was this time. Furthermore, I think it is interesting how art in not just about what you yourself feels about it, because in art, one can ask how others felt about it. Sometimes, we derive at creation hints by visiting a museum with the whole team and talking about what we each felt.
The year 2020 brought about grave change to the fashion industry due to influences of the COVID-19 pandemic, but is there anything in your thoughts about fashion or mindset of how you make clothes that has changed?
There were more than a few things we were forced to change in the brand’s operation and/or designing process, such as not being able to go out for research as we had always done due to curfews, announcing our collection online, etc. On the other hand, there has always been a part of us that believed, while maintaining the roots of the brand, such as its concept, the form of output should change according to the times, so our stance towards clothes making remains unchanged. We intend to continue making what we believe in, but I strongly feel the need in rethinking of a presentation method to convey our message without reducing the purity of our creations.
Please tell us your future plans for the brand.
At this point, I don’t have any specific aim or image I want to fulfill. For now, I am more interested in facing and resolving problems in sight, one-by-one, as a team, thereby continuing to operate the brand. I think the popularization of online tools will spread increasingly from hereon, and forms of communication will change. Gathering together to make things amidst such times, it is imperative that each team member is able to think surely, and be able to give feedback to other members, but I also think this is the most interesting point.
Interview by Yuki Harada
Photography by Yohey Goto
Translation by Aiko Osaki