Hender Scheme’s design maverick Ryo Kashiwazaki, has successfully carved out his own artistic niche through a stunning catalog of luxe sneaker interpretations. Dubbed the “Homage” line, it is here the artist transcends notable sneakers from imaginative pieces into wearable works of art. Based deep within the heart of Tokyo’s leather industry, Kashiwazaki perfected his craft, first as a cobbler and now as the chief designer of his acclaimed brand. In speaking with SSENSE, Kashiwazaki details his design philosophies, inspirations and his beloved city.
On the concept of Hender Scheme
“When I was studying psychology in college, one of my focuses was gender theory. ‘H’ follows ‘G’ in the alphabet, so Hender Scheme means “beyond gender scheme.”
On being based in the Asakusa area of Tokyo
“In Tokyo, each area has its own vibe or lifestyle. Asakusa’s located in the east and I’m from the western part. The west was a newly developed area, perfect for my parents’ generation to commute to the center of Tokyo, with affordable rents.”
On selecting shoe silhouettes for the “Homage” line
“For that collection, what’s important is choosing the most typical ones. That’s so people can compare what we make with the existing models. I’m not saying either is good or bad. I just want to deliver the fact that there could be an approach like ours.”
On his stance regarding shoes and clothing
“Shoes are what I love, so I want to make more shoes. Clothing has got trends that move fast, but shoes have not been changed or updated from the very classics.”
On his philosophy regarding his shoe creations.
“Our philosophy is that our products can become perfect as people use them. They aren’t perfection when they are made—I want to imagine them after they are used.”