FEATURE 39

The Opening of a New Era.

The second discussion session with Tetsu Nishiyama, the director of DESCENDANT, and Akio Hasegawa, who is in charge of visual direction, talk about this season's visual and creating a collection. ーーWould you please tell us about the theme and concept for this season's visual? Nishiyama (N): There is no particular theme, but we asked for models of various genders and ages to style them to express the diversity. Hasegawa (H): I wanted to combine the photos taken separately to make it look like a group photo. This is a continuation of the method I used the last time. There are limits to what you can do if you shoot in a group, and there are also some aspects that work well when you take a photo of an individual. Still, when I put them in collage, I get an interesting combination, such as putting together the images of the different models who wear the same items, mixing photos in black and white, or using colors with subdued tones. I wanted to make it look like an anime. N (Looking at DESCENDANT's website) There was a time when we coordinated three different people wearing the same varsity jacket, each a different way. I think it's good that digital and analog expressions coexist. H (Also looking at the slides on the website) It's really good to revisit the project after some time has passed. Right after its completion, I sometimes don't know whether it came out good or bad because I'm constantly looking at it all the time. I feel like I'm drunk.

ーーUsing models of different ages and physiques to express the diversity, did you have any difficulty with styling? H It's not particularly difficult since we first set the direction and work while thinking about what to do for it. However, because the samples are limited, the item color I want them to wear, sometimes the size doesn't fit them, which often puts me into a puzzling situation. I am the type who decides after trying different things, so if I don't physically put them on the models, nothing will happen. So I'm not good at having long meetings before seeing the samples. (Laughs) N Have you experienced this with DESCENDANT? H No! These were situations when I was younger. I feel that it is more suitable for me to proceed while thinking on the spot rather than plan everything out then shoot. That being said, the models and brands are compatible, so I always do a fitting beforehand. ーーIs there room for something interesting to develop if it's not planned? H I think so.

Models symbolizes diversity N In the case of Yukumo, a model as one of the elements that symbolize the diversity of DESCENDANT, at first, it was undeniable that a child was dressed in adult clothing. Still, it has since become a commonplace image. It seems the stereotype has been broken. H Children grow up every day and approach the proper age of the brand, while adults gradually get older. (Laughs) N It's nice to have a particular style for each age group. I want DESCENDANT to be that type of brand. H We may feel that way because we are using models of various age groups. ーーWhat is the meaning behind the use of female models? N DESCENDANT also develops a category called ladies, although it is irregular. We unconsciously naturally categorize by a so-called gender, but by looking at Akio's coordination, I see the clothes styled on girls, and I think, “that looks good.” It's the original genderless way of being diverse. Until now, it was an era of reference photos of men wearing men's clothing. H DESCENDANT has many basic items so it may be easier for girls to wear. Imagining and actually styling them in a button-down shirt or chinos, I get surprised by what it looks like, but that's also a good thing.

DESCENDANT's collection creation What are you thinking when you create clothes? N These days, it would be great if DESCENDANT were clothes that show the individuality of the person who wears them, no matter who's wearing them. That's why I think there are naturally more and more basic standard items. The Heisei era brought a time when the clothes were the expression of the wearer. But after welcoming the Reiwa era, I feel like it's become a manner in which the individual expresses themself rather than the clothes. I think this is more of a natural state. I feel this way when I observe people pick out second-hand clothes or make choices towards fast fashion. We have definitely entered a new era. It seems that simple clothing production is required to give the brand diversity. N Although, I think it's become more important to understand where your brand identity lays. H In the case of yourself, it would be challenging to organize in your head each brand you direct. It seems that there are quite a few cases where you want to change the designs between brands when the clothes development has already progressed halfway. N Yes, (laughs) brand crossover. It happens to you too, right? H It does, but I try not to get into it, because after all, It's just myself, so it is what it is. (laughs) N You direct the overall visuals at DESCENDANT, but unlike the visuals represented by a single photo, your involvement with the process is so much more profound. H To be honest, some areas aren't planned out. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to respond to emergencies that may arise. But unexpected situations often act as a catalyst that causes changes to chemistry dynamics, so it's not discouraging. I want to discover new models, but it is pretty tricky these days. It's not that professional models are bad, but I feel like they have become accustomed to being vessels to show clothes. N I agree. Sometimes what we're looking for from the models is quite specific, somewhat like a maniac. H I wish some models would bring a fresh new change to the brand's visuals.

Akio Hasegawa
Born in 1975. Stylist and fashion director. While attending university, he studied under Mr. Yoshiyuki Kitao and became his assistant. After training as a writer, he became independent as a stylist. In 2007, he joined the establish “MONOCLE” (England) and worked as the fashion director from 2015 to 2016. In 2012, he took part in the renewal of “POPEYE” (Magazine House) and worked as the fashion director till 2018. He is currently directing the web media “AH.H,” which collaborates with the web magazine “Houyhnhnm” and also writes the fashion column articles for the magazine “UOMO” (Shueisha.) He also deals with fashion brand consulting and direction.