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TOKYO CUTTING-EDGE CREATORS by Julie Watai #2 : The Future of Fashion with Junya Suzuki from “chloma”

『TOKYO CUTTING-EDGE CREATORS by Julie Watai』#2 : chloma 鈴木淳哉と語る、ファッションの未来
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TOKYO CUTTING-EDGE CREATORS by Julie Watai #2 : The Future of Fashion with Junya Suzuki from “chloma”

 

TOKYO CUTTING-EDGE CREATORS by Julie Watai is column series, which covers Tokyo’s latest cutting-edge culture! In this series she’ll be interviewing creators that have caught her interest, in order to discover the latest cutting-edge culture in Tokyo. For our first installment, we interviewed artist Ai☆Madonna, and for the second time, we’ll be interviewing Junya Suzuki, who has been working for fashion label “chloma”.


 

Julie: Hello! Long time no see!

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This interview was conducted via Skype./対談はSkypeチャットでやってます。

Julie: Excuse me for getting started so quickly, but I think there people out there who haven’t yet heard of the fashion brand you’ve been working on, chloma. Could you tell us a little about the brand’s concept?

Junya Suzuki (Suzuki): It’s a fashion label designed by Reiko Sakuma and myself, taking into consideration the relationship between people and technology, people and characters and people and the internet, taking influence from the world with our monitors and modern people who traverse the real world without borders.

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You can browse their website for 3D models of their clothing. /公式ウェブサイト。3Dモデルを操作、閲覧できる。

See chloma websitehttp://www.chloma.com/

Julie: So it’s a two-unit brand, right? How do you both decide your roles during the production process?

Suzuki: I do a large share of the design work, while Ms. Sakuma does the patternmaking. However I also do pattern work, and Ms. Sakuma also designs.

Julie: I see. Come to think of it, I remember your previous brand had a slightly different design. Is there anything that inspired your current style?

Suzuki: This first brand I did was called Junya Suzuki. After Ms. Sakuma and I really began to work together as a team, we decided to change the name and renamed it to chloma. The evolution of the brand’s style was a result of deciding to bring our clothing to the city, instead of just focusing on designs and costumes aimed at a limited group of people.

The reason behind this was that although some people may not care much about what kind of clothing they wear, most people in public do. If what they’re wearing is out-of-fashion, it may lower their value in the eyes of others. People are very sensitive to fashion in this age, and we thought it would be more fun to challenge that.

Julie: So each design focuses on people being able to wearing your label around the city. There’s definitely a personal touch there, as your designs that give off a futuristic impression, yet remain understated.

Suzuki: We want people to be able to wear our clothing anywhere. Without sacrificing our vision, we want people to feel safe wearing our clothing around their local neighborhood.

Julie: Around their local neighborhoods! That would certainly be cool. (laugh) I always regarded it as an urban label, and hadn’t thought of it like that.

Suzuki: Even as we create a futuristic, urban image, we don’t want it to stand out in a negative way too much.

Julie: By the way, would you mind going into more detail about your career history? I assume you went to fashion school, right?

Suzuki: After attending a four-year university, I went to a Japanese fashion college for two years in Japan, studied abroad in Paris for a year, and then came back to start Junya Suzuki.

Julie: How long did Junya Suzuki last, or are you still continuing with it?

Suzuki: I’m no longer working on that label, but I think I continued with it for about a year under the Junya Suzuki name.

Julie: Then after that, you started chloma. I’ve seen one of your Junya Suzuki collections before, and I felt like it was really is high-end fashion! It seems to me the support chloma is getting is a result of targeting a different group than you did before. To put it simply, people that like anime and the like. I think the way you approached this group through fashion is really groundbreaking! When you released your Nendoroid Coat, how was the response from those close to Akihabara culture?

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Nendoroid Coat/ネンドロイドコート

Suzuki: Maybe this isn’t a great explanation, but I wanted to paint an SF (science fiction) world were “normal people” are the main characters. I thought with the internet era, it would be possible. The “those into Akihabara culture” label is much too vague now, and the with the previous wall between fashion and otaku like oil and water gone, it felt like people took to it naturally.

Julie: I get that. When you wear chloma brand clothing, it really does feel like you’re the main character of an SF world. I also own the (poncho-type) coat. It’s design has a lot of character, and whenever I wear it people always give me compliments and ask me where I got it.

Suzuki: I think we’ve gotten a lot of support from those into fashion, but also those into fashion and otaku culture. Then when people who were only into otaku culture understood the narrative surrounding our clothing, they also came on board. Using plastic models and figures as a reference, we were able to create a soft look with thick wool, allowing it to sit on the balance between that SF and real world feel.

Julie: Before grown-ups were categorized as “otaku” just for watching anime as adults, but now it seems like this is new viewed as “normal”, and it’s not uncommon to listen to Hatsune Miku or have figures. It’s not strange to find people part of this new generation who appreciate fashion and anime as points on the same axis.

Suzuki: I think that’s exactly it. People represent themselves both through characters and fashion, so it’s natural to like both.

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Photographer: Julie Watai Models: Julie Watai & ASUNA, Taken in 2014. Items Watai borrowed and used from chloma appear in her collaborative work LOVE VALLEY with Android ASUNA. 2014年撮影。アンドロイドASUNAとの作品群「LOVE VALLEY」ではchlomaの作品をお借りし、着用している

…Read more about the concept of chloma, VR shopping, and "cyber nursing home"?!?!
…chlomaのコンセプト、VRショッピング、また”サイバー老人ホーム”についてさらに読む

Related links
chloma website : http://www.chloma.com/
chloma INSTAGRAM : https://www.instagram.com/chlomagears/

Julie Watai website : http://juliewatai.jp/

Translated by Jamie Koide

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Author
Julie Watai
Julie Watai

After working at an idol in Japan, Julie Watai moved by herself to Italy, publishing SAMURAI GIRL in 2006 while working as a photographer for Italian publishing company DRAGO&ARTS. She quickly became an international Japanese pop culture figure, gaining a large following. After returning to Japan, she continued her work as a photographer, along with developing electronics as a hobby and iPhone apps, and has been remarkably successful as part of the Akiba-style geek culture, too.

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