In the most recent issue of 01 Magazine, Laura Vignale interviews Hiroki Nakamura of the cult Japanese label, visvim. Touching more so on the conceptual aspect of visvim and Nakamura’s personality, an unwavering sense of pride and passion run through the founder’s insights. The interview in its entirety can be seen here.
Why did you decide to create visvim anyways?
I always wanted to make my own product. I wanted to create something authentic. I have been studying what other brands had produced and I felt the need to produce my own.
Did working at Burton make you a businessman? Did your experience influence your work ethic?
My family has a manufacturing business so I always wanted to start my own business. I knew I couldn’t have anyone else run my business for me. For me it’s important to drive the business and the creative. It’s a delicate balance.
Do you believe that it is important for your products to last and age well with time?
That’s happiness to me! I love a product that lives with me, follows my life, and looks better with time. Every individual creates a unique experience in his or her shoe. That way you have “Laura’s shoes” and then there “Hiroki’s shoes”. Over the years the two shoes will look completely different. The condition of the product was the same in the store. That was just the starting point.
Do you have any secrets you would like to reveal on how you produce these great quality products?
I want to tell you a story. I work with these two Italian textile designers. They are largely unknown but they supply fabrics to some of the best high-end fashion designers. One day they came to my shop and saw my products and told me
they wanted to show me something. The asked me to please come to Italy. So I went to their factory in Como and they showed me their archives. There was a 1meter sample of fabric of everything they have produced in the last 150 years. It was amazing!
Now they are using a new technology in their factory but they still keep the same level of quality that they have maintained for all those years. There’s no question that the ones made by hand still have more feeling and personal touch, but this new machine technology was thoughtfully created so that the philosophy on how the fabric that it produces is still pure and high end. That’s how they are creating their products and that’s now exactly what I am doing too.
How important is nature in your work?
I really like natural authentic things, like leather and food, and fish! You can’t really compete with the authenticity of something from nature. To me it’s very important. I’m not necessary trying to be eco or anything, but if you eat fresh food or fresh fruit, it taste great. You can’t compare it to processed food. My focus is to make a good product with natural materials so that the organic and natural element comes out of it.
Do you think of yourself a fashion designer?
Actually no, I’m just a guy making products. I’m not that sensitive. It’s very simple. It’s not a big deal. You can call me anything you want, but I’m just a guy making products.
Is there another brand out there that you feel is especially relevant right now? Who would you want to collaborate next with?
I like people who are making good stuff. Maybe they aren’t well known. Like those guys in Italy I told you about. Just talking to them gave me so much joy. I love when people are passionate. Like this French guy I met in Mexico who had so much passion for western boots! He actually moved to Mexico and to start his own brand. No one really knows about him in the fashion industry but he’s there making great products. There are a lot of people out there like that. They inspire me. I love working and sharing ideas with people like that.