An Interview with Visvim's Hiroki Nakamura
While obviously the amazing quality and inventive qualities of Visvim have been a huge telling part in their success, a sucess which started with the FBT in terms of gaining worldwide recognition but has grown a very intrenched fan base all round the world, from their bags, to their shirts, denim and so much more. If you’ve been to F.I.L you’ll know the Hiroki Nakamura doesn’t do things by halves, infact just looking at a garment of any accessory and you’ll be able to see this, even their seasonal catalogue. The amazing catalogue which the Visvim team put together each collection in a way is a great example of just what the companies about, well planned, made to the highest quality and executed beyond anyone else. I had a quick chat with Hiroki about the book and inparticular this season’s issue entitled” Dissertation on Geographical Relevance in Rational Product Development".
AB: I’ve noticed over the years that within Japan, Cataloguing collections is a very important part of the process, alot of companies produce Magazine style Catalogues to present their collection to the consumer, Visvim take this process to another level, by producing a hardcover book of very high standards, something people can hold on to for years, to you, what makes producing a book to this level so important?
HN: I’ve always preferred things that you can keep for a long time and that will last. When we first started making our catalogs, we wanted to create something for our customers that they could keep for their own personal archives while at the same time documenting the process of all our collections. We are very much a product-based brand, so it’s important to present our product nicely and neutrally to our customers, and our Dissertations are a good medium for this.
AB: Within the Book you prefer to pay attention to the detail and quality of the garment rather than talk of the culture around the brand, to me this is a sign of Visvim’s philosophy in producing quality, to you, what is the best way to get the message across of the quality of the garment through print matter, without being able to show the consumer the product in its physical form?
HN: For us the product must always be the focus and subject. We prefer not to associate our product with any particular style, culture, ethnicity, nationality, etc., so all emphasis should be on the product’s technical details, material specifications, and our attempts at improving the design, while only showing basic images of each item. We try to keep things simple, and our catalogs are one of the most important communication tools we have in doing this.
AB: The Autumn/Winter 07-08 book is entitled ‘ Dissertation on Geographical Relevance in Rational Product Development ‘ – what does this mean?
HN: Every season we have different development themes that help organize the thought-process behind each collection’s product. We thought it would be interesting to examine how people re-appropriate clothing or footwear to fit with necessities in their lifestyles, despite the originally intended purpose of the designs. For example, in the city it’s not uncommon to see people wearing mountaineering gear, hiking boots, etc., so we thought we’d try to play off these re-appropriations and design Visvim product which could function in very intense conditions while not looking out-of-place in an urban environment.
AB: The Book is a very impressive and must take alot of time to put together, when did you first start working on this latest release?
HN: Every season when we start creating our collection, we simultaneously start creating the catalog; 250 pages later, the catalog starts feeling more like a book than just simply a catalog…
AB: Often within Fashion Design and Production, there can be delays, and even change of direction throughout the process, the Book must take almost as much time as the design and production process, how do you manage to put it all together and also ensure its accurate come the time of release?
HN: Well, as a Creative Director it’s my job to keep things focused and to keep people communicating throughout the entire developmental process, not only with the making of our Dissertations but with the making of the product. We work as a team, so it’s important we all speak the same language to reach the same goal. For the catalog, its sole intent is to support the product, so we try not to give it too much identity. It should only be a platform to introduce and display our product. We try to make our catalogs beautiful, but only beautiful together with the product and only a medium for that purpose.