Facetasm: Style, Smiles and Street
Hiromichi Ochiai, the founder of the brand Facetasm, has been generating a lot of international fashion heat since he started showing his collection in Paris two years ago, after a decade in his native Japan. The designer, who shows menswear and womenswear together, takes pleasure in creating modern streetwear clothing that get their power from pushing together disparate sartorial ideas. It’s an approach that drew the attention of The Woolmark Company, which decided to partner Facetasm on a two-season deal this year. A collaboration that has already generated some impressive results.
A version of this exclusive interview first appeared in the pages of the 15th issue of ODDA Magazine.
Hiromichi, can you talk about the moment in your life when you first discovered the power of fashion and how clothing has transformative properties?
When I was a teenager, Tokyo’s fashion was seen incredible.
Undercover was making a big movement, and at the same time lots of stores started to buy The Antwerp Six and Margiela. Fashion was seen so progressive, and that was the first time that I discovered its power.
Who has influenced your creative awakening as a designer?
Various artists. If I would need to choose only one, Jun Takahashi would be the one.
Fashion is such a broad creative universe, but with Facetasm you focus your creative energies on clothing that has a more urban, street inspired starting point. What is it about this sort of dressing that draws you?
I’ve never thought about it, but I think it is just our reality.
I don’t have a particular inspiration every season, but I always want to understand my own emotions in order to look for an expression through dressing. I believe that clothes have to be wearable, so I always research what youth wants right now and mix it into one thing.
You graduated from BUNKA fashion college in 1999 and then started your brand Facetasm in 2007. Can you talk a bit about what you did during that time before you decided to launch out on your own?
I worked at a textile company for 8 years, having clients such as Comme des Garcons and Undercover.
I had the chance to meet with designers, and to get involved with lots of fashion industries at that time. Kind of my first step in my fashion career.
“WITH OUR DEBUT IN 2012, WE’VE ALWAYS SHOWN MEN AND WOMEN TOGETHER. IN TOKYO THERE IS NOT THAT MUCH OF A BORDER BETWEEN GENDER” – HIROMICHI OCHIAI
Your Fall/Winter 2018 collection is titled Emotions. As your brand’s name rifts on the idea of Facets, what were the facets of emotions you were trying to express with this collection?
We have input our own emotions into the clothes, but we focused more on how the customers feel when they wear the items. When you feel your emotion effected, your heart moves too and I thought that is needed at this moment in the fashion world.
In your Fall/Winter 2018 collection, a number of the models were smiling on the runway, something you don’t really see anymore. Why did you want them to smile?
Simple, smiles were needed. Models were smiling but had some “Crying” make-up at the same time.
People’s emotions are very random; we never can control ourselves. We cry, we smile, and we smile & cry at the same time.
The clothing in the collection play a lot with proportions and textural juxtapositions. It seems that sartorial dissonance is something you enjoy. Can you talk a bit about your style of bringing together disparate ideas to create clothing that is more than the sum of their parts?
Bringing together disparate ideas make another view to the clothing.That’s the one reason why I like deconstruction. I believe that Tokyo is a unique city, actually Japan is a unique country because there is no big room for fashion and many cultures are mixed up. You can find clothes from US and Europe, kimonos from Japan and all that is mixed up to give a new value to clothes. For me, this is one of the biggest difference between European and Japanese clothes.
You are one of a growing number of designers that shows their menswear and womenswear together. What made you decided to go in this direction? Is it a question of cost or creating a more cohesive visual universe for your brand?
There is no important reason why we show Men and Women together. Our debut was in 2012 and we have always shown Men and Women together. Specially in Tokyo, there is not that much of a border between gender, so maybe by living in a society like this it was normal for us.
The Fall/Winter 2018 season marks the start of a two-season partnership with The Woolmark Company. How has this partnership helped you to grow and learn as a designer?
It was very important for us to know the best factories in Japan.They are not big factories, but have respect for their job, and works together with the best fashion houses from the world. By working with factories like this, the quality got incredibly better.
What sort of innovative fabrics and yarns did you experiment in with your Fall/Winter 2018 and Spring/Summer 2019 collections via your partnership with The Woolmark Company?
We thought deeply, so that we found a new possibility for Wool.
The wrinkled wool fabric, and the wrinkled denim wool fabric are the best ones I think. Both are 100% wool, the after procession (making the wrinkles) fits with Wool.
What do you think you taught Woolmark during this collaboration?
Our passion towards fashion, and new ideas towards fabrics.
Can you talk a bit about your creative process? How you like to work? Are you a night owl, or are you more creative in the morning… do you like to work alone on your ideas or prefer a more collaborative style?
I prefer to work from the morning, and always work with a team.
If you were not a designer what other things in life are you passionate about and would like to pursue?
I cannot imagine myself working in a different industry.
In three words, how would you describe the Facetasm brand?
Noise, Youth, Love.
Jessica Michault is the Senior Vice President of industry relations at GPS Radar by Launchmetrics. She is also the editor-at-large for ODDA magazine and contributes to publications like the New York Times, the Business of Fashion, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Mixte magazine.
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