Visvim is one of the famous vintage brands in the world. The hand behind the designs is one Hiroki Nakamura. The brand is widely known for its vintage and rugged aspect to workwear, through incorporating both American and Japanese models. While much is known about the clothesline, little is known about the founder.
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Thus, this essay seeks to examine how the brand came into being, analyze the life of the founder, and how it played an instrumental role in shaping the brand. Further, being that Hiroki Nakamura is a native of Japan and yet idolizes vintage American fashion, the research seeks to establish the source of this inspiration and how the brand tries to integrate both these cultural aspects in his designs.
Visvim is a men’s clothing line that was founded in the year 2000 by Hiroki, with flagship stores in both Japan and Hongkong, and its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan (Virtual Japan, 2008). However, it is also an international force with other regional shops and boutiques in both New York (Bergdorf Goodman) and London (Dover Street Market).
In comparison, very few brands match the stature of the Visvim in the clothing world of fashion. Moreover, the clothing line commands the best quality as it utilizes uncompromised materials and is woven with the best technique.
Notably, the brand was established through the idea of Japanese American workwear. Ideally, the brand became famous among the Japanese people owing to the labor-intensive approach that was put into the brand, and the street wears a result, it was positively received by the audiences in Japan (Rabkin, 2015).
The clothesline was not only a success in Japan but also among the people in the United States. In the states, the brand was famous for utilizing hand quality and for having to be in the fashion industry for the last fifteen years.
Thus, it is not surprising that the brand has gained a lot of recognition among celebrities in the United States like Kanye West, John Mayer, and Eric Clapton as these are people known to have publicly declared their allegiance and love for the brand are owing to the streetwear it idealizes (Rabkin, 2015).
Notably, the love for vintage and rugged fashion for Hiroki Nakamura culminated during the days his family lived in the United States. As a young child, Hiroki and his family would love to travel all over the globe, and it was due to the love for excursions that his family finally settled in Alaska at the time (Marcus Troy, 2013).
However, his love for clothes and designing began earlier before his migration to Alaska to study. When this designer was young, his mother would make him sort out his clothes in the closet and get rid of the old ones that he would no longer wear.
He realized during all the arranging and re-rearranging that some clothes had been made with care, yet some others were carelessly made. The things that significantly impacted him were those that were made in the 1960s.
Consequently, this young man grew up to become designed behind the face of Visvim, a business based in Tokyo, operating about ten boutiques, and having about 111 global stockists (Rabkin, 2015). The product is established using the fascination of the Japanese mind but based on the traditional nature of the American workwear.
The reason why the designer sort to utilize both the American and Japanese inspirations is that, according to him, Japan is a country if people who love things from the outside world. Notably, America is one of the countries outside the world through which many things originate. In effect, there is a high love for American products and commodities as they symbolize independent thinking. Notably, the American style is recognized as being young and eclectic.
In particular, Nakamura’s love for American inspired designs was developed by watching American movies and the time he spent in Alaska as a teenager. His love for the American wear saw him collect vintage denim during his youth, though the love for the clothes was motivated by a simple, though of looking fresh before his peers.
Growing up, and owing to the love to travel by his family, his parents encouraged the young man to pursue an education in a region where people spoke little Japanese (Marcus Troy, 2013). His choice was Alaska, a decision that was arrived at following the many family trips they had made to the area, and as a result of the many activities, he enjoyed doing while he was there. These included camping, whale watching, snowboarding, among others.
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After completing his studies, he went ahead to pursue a career in design at the Burton snowboard in Japan, where he gained experience working as a designer for about eight years. It is after he quit his job at the company that he went on to establish his company and named it Visvim, one that gained momentum and, consequently, expanded to become a menswear label (Ssense, 2015).
Notably, his items and designs exhibited the same craftsmanship and vintage nature he had seen and gathered while living in Alaska. However, the designer felt that he required more, not only a brand that responded to the traditional needs of the people but also a design that illuminated contemporary fashion (Cortez, 2013).
Nakamura was of the view that the only way that his brand was able to illuminate all these aspects in one brand was because he had the ability to understand different cultures. Thus, even though he uses Japanese standards in making his products for his Japanese clients, and European standards for delivering products for his European customers, the influence of the American culture prevails in all of them.
This influence emanates from the power that the American culture had on him when he was growing up as a teenager. In fact, he was highly influenced and in love with the American men’s wear designer in the ’50s, the ’60s, and ’70s (Ssense, 2015).
Ideally, these designs exhibited a form of democratic openness that the designer loves to illustrate in his designs, too, making his line come out as unique and creative. His integration and fusion of both American and Japanese blends lead to the creation of something new. This is because the designer tries to keep his eyes open to cultural influences in design.
Further, his inspiration to venture in both the American and Japanese designs was further fueled by the American workwear movement that started to take root in Japan in the 1990s (Hartman, 2015). Thus, having lived in America and gathered cultural knowledge and vintage ideas, the latter found it fit to contribute to the growing industry in Japan. It is during his time that he quit his job as a designer for the company he was working for to start making shoes.
Thus, he established his clothing line in 2001 with the creation of shoes and expanded into making clothes, certain the product he made with the same care he had seen in the vintage items he had discovered while he was rearranging in the closet (Hartman, 2015). However, his love for designs and old vintage was not to just reproduce them, but also to breathe life into them by integrating a combination of Japanese and American fusion.
Overall, Visvim is both an American and a Japanese brand. Mostly, the clothing line draws its inspiration from the experience of the American life that its founder had living in Alaska. Notably, this inspiration emanates from the free democratic spirit that the American people possess, alongside the national values they emanate.
Further, the vintage designs of the American workwear in the 1950s through to the 1970s were a great source of inspiration for his works. Nonetheless, owing to a high sense of patriotism, the founder of Visvim chose to apply these designs to his home country, being that the Japanese people love to purchase things from the outside world.
Thus, there was a desire to incorporate both the traditional aspects of his homeland while integrating the key vintage aspects of American fashion that he had discovered during his stay in Alaska. In effect, even though the brand is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, the heart of the founder is in America, where he draws most of his inspiration.
Cortez, K. (2013). Shop in a caravan, The F.I.L indigo camping trailer. Web.
Hartman, E. (2015). A Japanese designer with a rugged Western aesthetic. The New York Times. Web.
Marcus Troy. (2013). People: Hiroki Nakamura. Web.
Rabkin, E. (2015). For Japan’s Visvim, old is the new new. Daily Digest. Web.
Ssense. (2015). Visvim. Web.
Virtual Japan. (2008). About Visvim. Web.