Get 15% Off + Free Shipping on Orders over $150 - Use Code: EPICSUMMER

Shinsuke Takizawa: The Inspirations of a NEIGHBORHOOD

One of the heavyweights to emerge from the Ura-Hara era of Japanese streetwear in the mid-90s, NEIGHBORHOOD founder Shinsuke Takizawa has remained mostly in the background in regards to the Western world. Without a well-publicized background to both himself and the brand, NEIGHBORHOOD has seen itself move outwards over the last few years through both global retail points and more visible campaigns and projects.

Inspired by motorcycles and its rebellious lifestyle, throughout the last 16 years, NEIGHBORHOOD has maintained a certain bad boy image throughout streetwear. With powerful graphics and the usage of visuals sometimes construed as culturally insensitive, Takizawa’s recent launch with Hong Kong brand izzue enabled us to sit down with the figurehead while promoting the capsule’s launch. Some European counterparts have taken issue with NEIGHBORHOOD’s usage of icons in the past and that topic among the brand’s motives and inspirations all factor in to this feature.

在90年代,裡原宿街頭掘起了很多潮流勢力,NEIGHBORHOOD創辦人瀧澤伸介就是其中之一 。縱使沒有太多人知道他的背景,但NEIGHBORHOOD在過去幾年內已經靜靜地通過大小不同的跨平台合作向全世界發展 。

在過去的16年內,其靈感都是來自摩托車和反叛的生活方式,藉著強而有力的視覺效果和敏感性的圖案,NEIGHBORHOOD保持著的壞男孩形象廣遍街頭。瀧澤最近與香港品牌izzue的合作使我們有機會能夠與這位NEIGHBORHOOD的代表人物坐下來詳談。這篇專訪會談及NEIGHBORHOOD為何會用那些圖案、品牌的動機和靈感 。

Interview: Eugene Kan
Direction: Edward Chiu
Photography: Louis Lau

Interview with Shinsuke Takizawa

It’s been said before that the movie Easy Rider was a big inspiration for you to get into motorcycle culture. But of all the potential creative outlets, was there a particular reason you chose fashion?

The movie’s storyline and the culture that it represented was something that I really related to. The image was something I was extremely interested in and I felt that the best way to represent this was through fashion.

While some people feel that NEIGHBORHOOD’s design is rooted in Americana, you’ve derived a great deal of inspiration from British fashion as well. Why do you feel that NEIGHBORHOOD is sometimes seen more on the American-side of style?

I was deeply influenced by British fashion in the beginnings. However I do have a great appreciation for American heritage and the previous styles. I didn’t have a specific influence or side I wanted to lean towards. I think that fans of the brand made this assumption more so on their own.

With the subcultures that have been so influential in the 20th century such as punk and skate, has there been anything in your eyes that will replace these cultures as major forms of inspiration down the road in the present day?

Once we hit the 1990s, there really hasn’t been any great or noteworthy subcultures. It’s unfortunate but this will undoubtedly ensure that the previous movements you’ve mentioned will continue to live on for years to come.

As I follow your blog on honeyee, there’s quite a few images you post from your Land Snail Racing outings. Could you explain what it’s all about?

We’re essentially a team of racers. We deliberately picked a snail for our mascot given that it’s a slow animal not associated with speed. We race over both drag and road races.

據聞Easy Rider這部電影令你迷上電單車文化。但是,在所有創意行業中,有甚麼特別的原因令您選擇了時裝?

我十分喜愛這部電影的故事情節和文化,我想要通過時裝,來表達對這部電影的喜愛。

雖然有些人認為NEIGHBORHOOD的設計是植根於美國,但事實上你很大的靈感是來自於英國時裝的。你對於NEIGHBORHOOD的設計散發著濃厚的美國風有甚麼看法?

大家都知道我是深受英國時裝影響的。另一方面,我又十分鍾愛美國的歷史和風格。倒不如說我沒有一個具體的模仿對象或取向。品牌呈現給支持者的風格,就是我們的風格。

一些潮流文化對20世紀充滿著影響力,例如龐克或電單車,在你眼中, 甚麼文化將成為未來的主流文化?

我個人認為流行文化到了90年代已經衰落了,那個年代之後真的沒有什麼大的或值得注意的流行文化。這是不幸的,但無疑你提及到的這些舊的文化在未來數年間將繼續流行。

我常瀏覽你honeyee上的博客,有相當多你Land Snail Racing外遊時的相片。能否說一下?

其實我們是一隊電單車隊。我們更選擇了一個具有諷刺意味的蝸牛標誌來做我們的吉祥物,(因為它是一種緩慢和遲鈍的動物。) 然而,我們是會作直路賽和公路賽兩種比賽的。

With the nature of racing required upgraded garments and leathers, would you ever enter into full-body leather designs?

It hasn’t crossed my mind right now but you never know.

With your racing and riding background, this seems to enhance the authenticity of the brand. How important is this to the brand itself?

While I never really created fashion explicitly for racing itself, I do want to reflect the culture through fashion and I think living in the world of motorcycles helps me convey this goal. 

In your late teens, early 20s, you purchased your first Harley-Davidson. Did you ever keep that bike?

I didn’t keep it but I did pass it along to WTAPS’ TET and I haven’t gotten it back [laugh].

NEIGHBORHOOD has often created classic aesthetics with new-age and contemporary materials. What’s your philosophy on this?

When it comes to vintage apparel, unfortunately it’s sometimes lacking in some details. However, with these new developments in fabrics, you’re able to update the piece and offer a new and well-rounded package.

隨著比賽時賽車手需要特別的服裝,你會不會設計全身的皮革服裝?

我暫時沒有這個打算,但你永遠不知道未來的想法。

你賽車的興趣好像對品牌的風格有著重要的影響 。這對你的品牌有多重要呢?

雖然我從來沒有真正將單車這形象建立在品牌上,但就你所說,我的確想將這文化反映在時裝上,電單車文化的接觸令我對這方面很有幫助 。

在你19、20歲的時候,您購買的第一部哈利電單車 。你還保留著它嗎?

我沒有留著,但我將它給了WTAPS的TET,我還沒有把它拿回來呢(笑)。

NEIGHBORHOOD經常用劃時代或現今的物料去重塑一些經典的款式。請問你為何會有這個理念?

從前很多經典的服裝款式,它們都不是用上很好的物料。現今湛新的物料正好可以將新和舊的東西融合,將一些新、良好的物料去重塑以前一些經典的款式 。

Looking back to NEIGHBORHOOD’s icons used throughout the brand, it elicits a lot of controversy. What’s the role of these icons in the brand’s identity?

I feel it’s all part of the story-telling of the brand with the slogans and visuals we use.

If I go further on this topic, some are referencing sensitive World War II details. What’s the purpose behind this?

I don’t want to avoid these events as they’ve happened. Despite the sensitive nature of it, the use of the symbols are more of a reflection of history.

What are your favorite parts of the collection to design?

I would say denim and jackets are probably my favorite to design.

Denim has been a popular aspect of the brand for some time. How does the design process work for NEIGHBORHOOD’s denim design?

We definitely look at old worn and vintage styles. However each year, we will research and update our finishing processes and techniques to hopefully create some different looks and washes.

回顧很多NEIGHBORHOOD的品牌圖案,每次都會引起許多爭議。在整個品牌的形象上,它們擔當住一個怎樣的角色?

我覺得我們的口號和圖案背後都有著它們自己的故事。

我進一步了解這個問題,有些圖案是引用二戰的理念。在設計的過程上會否因它的敏感性而遇上困難呢?

原則上我不希望迥避這些事件,因為它們已經發生了,儘管這些事真的很敏感。而圖案的構思多數是來自真實的歷史,所以亦沒有甚麼值得迴避。

在以往的設計當中,哪一些單品是你最喜愛的?

我最喜歡的設計是牛仔褲和外套。

牛仔褲一直都是NEIGHBORHOOD最受歡迎的單品之一。其實設計牛仔褲的意念是甚麼?

我們從來都著重舊式和復古的風格。然而每年,我們都會研究和改善我們成品的制作過程和技術,希望能創造出一些不同的外觀和洗水效果。

On a personal note, the incense holders have been some of my favorite releases. Any particular stories behind the holders?

A lot of the incense holders we make take on inspirations from traditional Japanese styles and I wanted to carry on this design and representation.

NEIGHBORHOOD has enjoyed a great deal of success both within China and in select markets without any discernible motorcycle culture, what do you equate this popularity to?

NEIGHBORHOOD is unique in its aesthetic and this is largely the strength of the brand. NEIGHBORHOOD possess qualities that other brands don’t have on the same level.

Over the 16 year history of the brand, I’m sure you’ve experienced big changes in the way you run the brand. Do you still maintain the same attitude and DIY-style that was perhaps more prominent in the brand’s infancy?

I’ve taken an approach where I don’t really divide it into both business and DIY. The company is at its heart a humble one and we can decide direction whenever it is necessary. If something requires a more business-minded approach or DIY-approach, both are achievable. I have no specific desires or a need to grow the company far beyond what I’ve achieved now.

This season’s izzue x NEIGHBORHOOD collection is different than the previous one, what was the direction this time around?

Last year’s collection was very small, more so for a pop-up store. This time around we made something a lot more comprehensive and we pushed a more visible military theme.

As you enter this collaboration as well as other collaborations, do you take into account your demographic and then add NEIGHBORHOOD’s own twist?

We don’t really worry so much about the demographics involved. We hope to maintain our own creative vision without really taking into account who the consumer may be, however that does mean that we are aware of what sort of parties we may partner up with.

就我個人而言,NEIGHBORHOOD的香薰座是我最喜愛的單品。在背後有甚麼特別的故事?

二次世界大戰之後,有很多由日本生產的骷髏造型的產物出產到美國,我認為十分有趣,我們做的香薰座也是從那裡找到靈感的,我們只是想承繼這樣子的設計和傳統。

NEIGHBORHOOD在香港和中國市場內一直享有很大的成功,你認為原因是甚麼?

很大程度上,NEIGHBORHOOD獨特的審美觀就是我們的特點。我相信NEIGHBORHOOD獨特的個性是其他品牌沒有的。

我相信在品牌的16年歷史中,你經營品牌的方式必定經歷了很大的變化。你仍想保持著當初品牌的態度和DIY風格嗎?

我已經辦別不了我現在的做法是商業還是DIY。我們仍然是一個十分謙虛的品牌,風格亦始終如一。只要計劃上有需要,我們仍然可以決定它的方向,所以商業或DIY的方式對我而言都是可行的。

相比起上一次的系列,本季izzue x NEIGHBORHOOD系列的風格有些不同, 這一次的設計概念是甚麼?

首先去年設計的系列規模比較小,只是做了一間概念店。這一次我們做得更全面,我們明顯地加強了系列的軍事元素。

當你與其他品牌合作的時候,你會否考慮到其他合作品牌和NEIGHBORHOOD不同的市場需求?

我不擔心市場需求 。我們只希望保持著NEIGHBORHOOD獨特的風格,也沒有真正考慮到哪些人會是我們的客户,所以我們可以很理智地選擇我們的合作伙伴。

Date: Dec 14, 2010  /  Views: 812  /  Author: Staff
Category: Features  /  Tags: Neighborhood, Hypebeast, Fashion, Interviews, Features, Izzue