Naoshi Sawayanagi

"The world we are living now should be within the flow of nature, but we have been against the flow by developing science technology. Now it's time to start thinking about how to coexist with this world. I think the idea of the world, which does not seem related to fashion, is in fact essential for fashion culture. The products and clothes by my brand Naoshi Sawayanagi do not stand for themselves. They are worn by people and also exist in relation to the surrounding space and environment. I propose not to only "wear clothes" but also to "wear the surrounding space and environment."


JF: When did Naoshi Sawayanagi come to life?
NS: I started the brand 2008 while still attending Sugino Fashion College, here in Tokyo.

JF: Who is behind Naoshi Sawayanagi?
NS: Me. I'm the only designer, but of course I work together with others to create the collection.

JF: Where can we buy your clothes?
NS: So far in Japan only. Mainly in Isetan, and in a couple of smaller stores. A webshop is also in planning.

JF: What does your collection include?
NS: Ladies' wear and outer wear. My denim collection Naoshi+Denim also has a men's collection for the first time this year.

JF: On the spot, where does your main inspiration come from?
NS: Nature. It's the concept of my brand. With Naoshi Sawayanagi I want to give people the opportunity to include natural elements into their daily lifestyle by making them wearable. Elements, which we alienated ourselves from in over-technologised societies. Every collection is homage to a natural element or phenomena. Like next year's spring summer collection of Naoshi+Denim grasps the spirit of wind.

JF: Are there other brands you look to for inspiration or that you admire?
NS: Not primarily, my focus really is on nature itself as my source of inspiration. But a brand I like for example is Lanvin. I like they way they include handcrafted elements into their items and I like the fact that they drape clothes instead of creating the cut in a 2-dimensional way.

JF: What is your dream regarding Naoshi Sawayanagi?
NS: To be part of the Paris Fashion Week very soon.

JF: Why? You have already been part of Japan Fashion Week twice, almost right after creating your brand.
NS: I find Paris Fashion Week honestly a lot more impressive than what we do here in Japan and want to be part of it. For me, Paris Fashion week stands for high fashion and artistic creations, this is the direction in which I want to develop my brand.

JF: How do you imagine the person that is going to wear your clothes?
NS: It always depends on the collection. For next year's spring/summer collection, I envisualised a rather young girl. The following winter collection I could see worn by one of the fashionable girls you might see walking the streets around Roppongi Hills.

JF: What is your favourite material?
NS: Definitely Denim. It's very changeable in surface, texture and colour, so it's a great material to form and give it my character. Many Japanese designers are known for applying very special and sophisticated techniques to create unique Denim, I guess I am no different.

JF: So, do you feel your brand is very Japanese?
NS: Yes, I guess so. I create it with a Japanese spirit in mind and for example pay a lot of attention to detail. And I get inspired by Japanese street fashion as well and include elements of it like very layered styles.

JF: Did you make your brand for Japanese or can you imagine others wearing Naoshi Sawayanagi as well?
NS: I definitely made it for everybody. The fact that Naoshi Sawayanagi is a Japanese brand doesn't mean it's only meant for Japanese. For me, fashion is like a language that we can all use and understand, just like music, it is borderless.

TEXT: Mareike Dornhege
The connection between Naoshi Sawayanagi and was established in a very lucky coincidence. The interviewer is a fashion model and journalist from Europe, who happened to walk for Naoshi Sawayanagi during JFW 2010. She introduced Naoshi to us in the small but complex Japanese domestic fashion industry. Naoshi says recently he has been subject to a series of highly unlikely yet lucky coincidences and we are happy to be part of the small miracles happening.

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