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More than a decade in the making, TIMAI founder Takashi Imai‘s have taken on a new life following a profound change in thinking that began a few short years ago. To hear the up-and-coming footwear designer tell it, a hip-hop-inspired approach of sampling and remixing existing designs led to a state of boredom and a lack of self-fulfillment. “No matter how much you knead around something that has been around already, it will never become original,” he says. Thus, an aspiration for true originality and self-expression was born, thus leading to TIMAI – a collection of footwear that eschews the status quo in favor of unorthodox construction, unique silhouettes, and a profoundly differentiated aesthetic. Imai recently sat down with Cult Edge to discuss everything from his start in footwear and his change in thinking, to the concepts that inform his work, future aspirations, and his desire to bring his designs to more countries across the world. Head on over to Cult Edge to check out the interview and be sure to explore TIMAI’s site for an in-depth look at its creations.