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In a rare interview appearance, Toby Feltwell – the creative director of Japanese brand C.E – sits down with web imprint The Fashion Post to shed some light on his comprehensive career. In part one of his introspective piece, Feltwell explains how his early love for music and skateboarding landed him an A&R job at the London-based record label Mo’Wax. While working at the label, he befriended the polymath NIGO, who later offered him a position at his NOWHERE brand where he served as a BAPE consultant and even an interpreter of sorts for the early conversations that took place between NIGO and Pharrell Williams while they were constructing the Billionaire Boys Club line. Below is a small snippet of the interview. You can check out the first portion of Feltwell’s interview in full here.
Thank you for coming today. First, can you please tell us about your background?
I was born in England and I developed an interest in music and fashion through skateboarding, which I started at 13. I lived about 40 minutes from London by train, and I always wanted to live there, so I decided to attend the University of London. I didn’t study much and hung out every day at [London's long-established skate shop] SLAM CITY SKATES. I met a lot of people there. It was the only place you could buy Japanese street wear brands in London at the time. So, I saw the early days of A BATHING APE® and GOODENOUGH. After university, I had no idea of what to do or how to find a job. Will Bankhead a skater who I was friends with though SLAM CITY SKATES told me about a job with a record label called Mo’Wax, and I started to work there. I stayed in the music industry for about 7 years. Mo’Wax has the impression of an independent but it was already a sub label of A&M Records when I joined, and after that, it affiliated with XL Recordings. I met NIGO® through Mo’Wax.
Did you work with NIGO® at Mo’Wax?
At the time, I was friends with K.U.D.O. [Masayuki Kudo] and Toshi [Toshio Nakanishi] of MAJOR FORCE [*A Japanese hip-hop based club music label]. I think, K.U.D.O. introduced me to NIGO®. NIGO® once released an album on Mo’Wax, which was produced by NIGO® and K.U.D.O.. I ended up in charge of NIGO®’s A&R. The MAJOR FORCE studio was originally located in the basement of Mo’Wax. Whenever NIGO® came to England on business, he would record a track in the studio. Recording started in1997 but the album wasn’t released until 1999 so it took a while to finish.