【INTERVIEW】sakukaru online

This is an article published in "SABUKARU Online" in April 2020.


This time, ""MeanSwhileIs a part of a series that focuses on designers and brands that prioritize advanced materials and special functions in the fashion industry.

Functional clothes are clothes to make your daily life more comfortable. In any situation, such as heat retention on cold winter nights, moisture permeability on hot summer days, waterproofness when it rains during commuting, functional clothing is an unexpected scenario that life throws. This refers to the clothing that can be dealt with.


In the case of functional clothes, the value of the design cannot be found on the ideas that resonate on paper or trends that increase "likes" on SNS. In the case of functional clothes, the value of the design lies in integrity (perfection) that can effectively respond to its application. Therefore, when choosing a functional clothing, what kind of scene is this clothing useful for amateurs and skilled enthusiasts? In other words, is that clothing practical? I take care of it.

If there is a brand that expresses functionality and sophisticated designs, it's MeanSwhile. Meanswhile, established by Naodai Fujisaki, was born in 2014, and since then, it has been highly evaluated with wearable but well -balanced and balanced practical clothing. 。

Meanswhile, which has been highly evaluated by the use of materials backed by technology, is a brand that combines high -performance outdoor wear and a wide range of silhouettes, from modern to traditional. In addition, the design approach of Naodai Fujisaki incorporates advanced elements such as convertible details and maximum proportions, and boldly verifies the border between wearability. In addition, items that are unique to traditional silhouettes and contemporary practicality, colorful textiles and fabric processing are supported by outdoor and urban commuter.


What Naodai Fujisaki is in a unique position in the industry is that MeanSwhile is a clear concept -driven brand. Looking at MeanSwhile's web store and social media accounts, you can meet two concepts that clearly express their design philosophy. It is "clothing as a tool" and "design as a means, not for purposes." As a series of functional clothing, these two motto not only brings insight into the unique design of Fujisaki, but also explains why practicality defines the spirit of functional wear and is required. As soon as we did, we immediately attracted our attention.

The method of MeanSwhile's concept indicates a functional clothing is indicating that the concept of "clothing as a tool" should exist in the same way as a tool. Like a carpenter's saw, clothes deepen the interaction with the world by helping to achieve their daily goals, and does not get in the way. The idea that "design is a means, not a purpose," suggests that the design should not be simply evaluated for beauty, but that the design should be evaluated for the functions to be fulfilled. Masu.

Like a tool design, clothing designs should be enhanced by specific demands we would do throughout the day.


These two concept clearly expresses the movement of the functional clothes that "clothing design should be derived for actual use."

Now, let's take a closer look at how the functional design principle is reflected in the production of clothing and the work of "MeanSwhile".

Regarding the use of technical and advanced materials, there are countless cases in the Meanswhile Fall / Winter 2018 collection. In this collection, Naodai Fujisaki used modern practical materials such as ventile cotton and X-PAC canvas. The X-PAC canvas is a lightweight and torn intensity cotton, minimizes the entire textile, and a ventile cotton is a waterproof material with high moisture permeability. A typical item using these textiles is the X-PAC luggage vest.

By using these materials, it is equipped with equipment that can handle various scenes, such as heavy rains and unexpected shocks due to rubbing with the outer wall. In addition, it has a large -capacity pocket and is designed like a bag that can be accessed from the front. These advanced materials were introduced in various products, such as pants, jackets, button -downs, and backpacks.

MeanSwhile 2018 AW Collection from MeanSwhile ON Vimeo.


Functional clothes are not only determined only by clothing materials, but may be implemented at the design level. A remarkable example is the Solotex Reversible 4WAY jacket in the Spring / Summer 2018 collection. In terms of material, this 4WAY jacket uses Solotex and MVS thread. Solotex has a spring -like structure to improve the comfort of textile products, has a gentle cushioning and stretchy texture, but MVS thread is water -absorbing, pilling suppression, and wrinkles. It has a special structure that is hard to be. Unlike a general 2 -way reversible jacket, we have developed a 4WAY jacket like an origami that can be dressed up by turning it over from the hem in a specific way. This design is very practical not only in design, but also in one jacket packed with four styles. One of the versatility in the first place is definitely useful in travel scenes that want to reduce luggage as much as possible.

After visiting the MeanSwhile headquarters in Tokyo, I had the opportunity to ask Naohiro Fujisaki. In the interview, we talked widely on the future of the fashion industry, the creative process, and the future of the fashion industry. For more information about the trajectory of MEANSWHILE and Naodai Fujisaki, please see the following interview article.


Please tell me about your origin. What made you interested in design and fashion?

When I was a high school student, I remade clothes I found at a used clothing store and my parents' clothes. That may have been the trigger, but I was aware of the design after entering a clothing vocational school.




What did you do before launching the brand?

After graduating from college, I worked for a collection brand and experienced various assistant duties, such as production and pattern making. After that, I changed jobs to the street brand and experienced the launch of a new brand. During this time, I worked on the backpack design in my spare time, and decided to launch a brand when it was completed. Until I was convinced, I repeated countless revisions to three years.


How did you decide to become a designer? What is the origin of the company name MeanSwhile?

To be honest, I've never wanted to be a designer. I just liked manufacturing and just wanted to do it. My father was an artist, so I think I came to do the same thing as nature.

The brand name "Mean" is equivalent to the "meaning" of Japanese, and I want to make all the products I make. "A means" comes from "Means", which means that the design is not the final purpose but a process. The above two ideas were rarely seen in the modern fashion industry. As we decided to compete in the fashion market, the mainstream is the traditional fashion industry. Because I wanted to compete with a slightly different methodology, I made a coined word that combines the words "Meanwhile", which means "change," and the above two words.


Did you learn the design? If so, was the theme of functionality common when interested in accumulating careers in the fashion industry?

I studied clothes design at university. When I entered college, my father told me, "To observe natural things well." Natural things have a form that can be made. Everything is meaningful and shaped. Thanks to this one word, I think that I have a habit of studying design because of the various things in my daily life.

There were many functional brands from that time. I liked such brands, so I might just feel that there were a lot of research.

What I can say for all of those brands is that they are not doing functional brands because they are popular. I guess the brands that were riding in the trend remain now.


Please tell us that you are focusing on practical and functional clothes. What is this brand concept for you and our design activities?

Originally, the design has a 100%function. This is the basics of the basics for designers involved in design, but fashion designers do not have this idea.

Considering the basics of the design, it is natural to add functional and functional aspects.

MeanSwhile emphasizes its functional aspects, and sometimes incorporates it so that it is not clear from the table, and the balance is valued.


Your design is only attracting attention. What is the design inspiration?

thank you. I often get inspiration from everyday life. Although it overlaps with the questions I mentioned earlier, I often get inspired by nature. For example, in the process of growing plants, leaves grow into differences. This is to take more sunlight, why? Why? In many cases, exploring the question is linked to the flash of making something. Of course, there are many inspirations from artificial things, such as architecture and product design.


When I looked it up, there was a concept that "clothes as a tool" and "design is a means, not a purpose," and there was something that made me think very much. As a designer, what was the reason why you began to grasp such unique clothes?

I consider clothes into two categories, daily necessities and costumes. When I was a college student, I designed a wedding dress and became the best design competition in Japan. For women, wedding dresses are worn on special days and are costumes. For a long time, I only thought about clothes to wear on that special day, so I came to think about how everyday clothes should be and how to use it as a daily necessities (tool). That is the concept of this brand. By experiencing the design in two fields, I became able to approach the concept of "clothing as a tool" from a unique perspective.


Many design options and silhouettes announced by MeanSwhile are a perfect example of balancing traditional and contemporary. What kind of things do MeanSwhile do to achieve this harmony?

That balance is very important. For example, when it comes to design details, there are many designers who are inspired by used clothes and vintage. I am also one of them. However, it is equivalent to a cosplay to reproduce the details of clothes 100 years ago in the present age. The clothes 100 years ago have detailed details according to the lifestyle of the time. In modern times, your belongings and the means of transportation have completely changed, so if you design them accordingly, it will look different again. In my work, I try to make new functionality and purpose in traditional details, so that it will be in line with the present age.


Master-Piece, Kids Love Gaite, Danner and Less Taiwan, all the collaborations we have been doing are all similar to MeanSwhile, but are there anything important when deciding on collaboration?

When I decide a collaboration, I'm not always looking for a brand with the same vision. Rather, we will consider whether or not we have new (different) values. Until now, by applying MeanSwhile's design philosophy to collaboration, I have been able to make a lot of interesting things without obscuring the identity, and I want to do so in the future.

I think MeanSwhile is a brand loved by both the outdoors and the city. In this way, where is your design that can connect different people who live conflicting life?

Our concept of "tools" was initially accepted among those who like outdoors, but on the other hand, the popularity of outdoor functions had already been established among urban consumers. 。 From there, outdoor wear evolved to more focused on style, obscuring the boundary between "outdoors" and "urban". I think our success is significantly caused by the market that was ready to accept this new border.


Is it intentional for the brand to connect people with a common hobby? Or is it an unintended by -product due to the correct design?

It's not intentional, but I'm glad to do so.

However, my goal is to give people new values ​​not only in genres and categories, but also for clothes.

In the city, there are many people who use the outdoors as a hobby, so I hope that choosing clothes according to various lifestyles will be more common. 

Is there an impressive season or special product for me?

There are quite a few proud things, such as the “TOKYO New Designer Fashion Grand Prize” and the “TOKYO FASHION“ AWARD ”award, and the collaboration with Nike is impressive.

Please tell us about the highlights of this collection and the next season.

There are many, but we recommend collaboration boots with Danner and anorak jacket. It is updated little by little for each season, and it is now a standard item.

Most of the stores with your products are located in Asia, can you experience your world immediately in Europe and the United States?

As for geographical reasons, Asian shops have quickly become interested in us. As early as the second season, there have been inquiries from shops such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea, and it is still available at many shops. There were many twists and turns, but I think these long relationships have become a big plus to our growth. There are dealers in Europe, but they have not yet entered North America. I think this is our next task.

Recently, I worked with Nike and Hyperbeast, what was this project like?

I couldn't believe this when I first got the story of the project from the Hypebeast director. It was a very good experience to be able to work with a globally developed brand. I was told that I could make my favorite things, so I decided to make something like an art work rather than a product. As a result, the production costs of the entire costume were 10 times the normal collection.


It was a collaboration commemorating Nike Air Max Day, so I designed it with the theme of Air Max.

The main feature of these shoes was not to contain air, but in a design that "visualized" in a transparent window.

Therefore, I made the concept of visualizing the functionality, which is a feature of MeanSwhile.

The structure of the clothes that you do not usually show, such as how to attach the chord, tape, and reflector, is designed to be shown using a watch window parts.

We are considering sales, but it is still undecided. The price of the first place will be amazing ...

In a recent interview, you asked about what Meanswhile was affected by the Coronavirus issue. You have stated in that, "Before this happened, the fashion industry had already reached the need for change ...". What kind of change do you think the fashion industry needed?

The current fashion industry has grown by having the expiration date of the fashion that does not rot quickly and buying a new work once every six months. Creating something new is not a bad thing, but it is not good to be unnecessarily mass -produced in large quantities. As a consumer, it is important to buy something that suits your lifestyle without being affected by the trend. I think such a lifestyle choice forms our personality and makes it unique. I make things, but I don't always aim to sell a lot. I would like to convey MeanSwhile's thoughts and philosophy and think about how fashion is.


Please tell us specifically how the fashion industry needs change.

Although it overlaps with the answer I mentioned earlier, I think that it must be changed from the values ​​of people involved in fashion. The word sustainable is established in Japan, but not many people are thinking about the essence. The biggest goal is to sell, such as using sustainable materials and launching eco -friendly brands. I don't think it's worth producing just to sell. In the future, we are trying to consume a proposition for humanity to live on earth and as a trend. Instead, I have to take that way of thinking. When I started branding, the word sustainability did not penetrate, but I hope that my "clothing as a tool" will spread, which will reduce the world's problems.


What is the future of fashion for you? Also, what will it be in the next few years?

I don't know the future. I can't imagine whether fashion becomes a traditional performing arts, becoming a very different entertainment, or a completely different form and intersecting with the masses.

Everything has a history and context according to it. At that time, MeanSwhile was a brand that was born because he was in that place.

The current situation of fashion to the current situation of fashion was the starting point of the brand, so if the times change significantly, the brand's role will be over and I think it would be better to lead to the next context.

However, since I want to continue the design for the rest of my life, I think that I will create a creative activity for that era in another form.

If there is a student in the design department reading this article, do you have any advice?

This is a difficult question, but I think it's better to clarify whether you want to be an artist or a designer. I think it's a good idea to accept questions and discomfort in your daily life, and decide whether you want to express it or solve it. Now that the world is changing at a terrible speed, young people can respond flexibly due to the change. I can't help but be excited about what wonderful creations will be created.

The approach to MeanSwhile's advanced functionality returns to us in an enlightenment and simple way. This is important in two ways. One is that Naodai Fujisaki's design is an important asset for this industry, indicating a way for clothing to make life more comfortable. In other words, you can overcome various problems in life. Second, if we go one step down and wear clothes, that is, the purpose of a specific clothing we are interested in, we consciously make decisions as consumers based on information. You may be able to do it. And in a world full of constant popular demands, nurturing ways to make more cautious choices may be an effective solution to the fashion industry that is delayed in environmentally friendly habits and infrastructure. Not. And Naoyo Fujisaki and MeanSwhile symbolize the significance and necessity of functional clothing.