BED j.w. FORD - A Conversation with Shinpei Yamagishi
BED j.w. FORD’s rise on the Tokyo fashion seen has not gone unnoticed in the west. A regular within the pages of THE NEW ORDER / for a number of seasons now, the brand presented its SS19 collection oversee’s as part of Pitti Uomo’s international curation of guest designers in Florence. We caught up with Designer Shinpei Yamagishi to talk more about the process of preparing and executing a show so far from home, and the unveiling of the first collaboration with Adidas originals /
Your show in Florence was another critical success, building on the previous season in arguably one of the most artistically inspiring cities in the world. How has this process been for you as a designer and a label?
It’s not very easy to describe how it was like exactly, but it was surely a massive challenge for BED j.w. FORD and also for myself as a designer. It was a significant turning point that I recognized what I pursue and where I want to go as a designer clearly.
Outside of fashion what are your favourite memories of the show in Florence?
The day following the runway show, it just happened to be my birthday. My team, friends and family surprised me with a celebration that evening. It was an incredibly happy moment to see all the people close to me together in Florence, after finishing such a big event. I will never forget that.
How did the project with Adidas come about and what is your take on working with such a sportswear giant to fit BED j.w. FORD’s eco system of design and products.
adidas Originals Japan team found and took interest in us as a unique brand coming out of Japan and approached us to work on a collaboration. It was quite surprising for us that this global sportswear giant company picked us because we were still very small and had no experience working with any sports gear at all.
Our decision to work with them came from the intrigue of making something interesting fusing our essence with their product and technology; the challenge of expressing our own style at a maximum level within sportswear. I didn’t want to do anything outlandish or over-the-top but wanted to push my own vocabulary of design and aesthetic using their fabrics. The collection was not intended particularly for athletes, I wanted it to be enjoyed by all kinds of people who purely enjoy watching sports like myself.
Through a lot of dialogue and conversation between us, the adidas team is dedicated to making good products; their appreciation and support for my creations have really made them the best kind of partner. Our Pitti runway show was just the perfect place and timing to introduce the upcoming collaboration project.
Can you give us a bit of insight on your design background prior to BED j.w. FORD?
Coming into the fashion industry without any formal study, I think I make clothes free from the usual approaches of fashion design. If there is some standard procedure or idea such as “how clothing design should be”, it’s perhaps safe to assume I’m quite far from it. The inspiration for my collections usually come words: letters, conversations, echoes around me naturally highlight what I desire and what represses me. From there, the ideas take shape as pictures in my mind beginning the design process.
“If we were that small indie band from Tokyo, we would still play the same sound anywhere in the world.”
Tailoring is an anchor of each BED j.w. FORD collection, can you describe your approach to tailoring and what you want it to achieve to the wearers silhouette and how it makes them feel?
I always seek the style of tailoring that allows people to wear my jackets with the same feeling as how they wear shirts. That doesn’t mean that I simply want to make relaxing clothes. I want my clothes to have an open and fluid essence, which people can wear naturally in their daily lives, whilst appearing formal or fitting.
How was the duel show in Tokyo last year with Christian Dada? How did the merging of yours and Masanori’s collections work...?
It was a cherished and special project for us to be a part of; working alongside one another, we gained a shared insight into the amount of passion and time spent by our respective brands for making clothes.
I felt honored that we could work on such a big project in Tokyo, and I am very thankful to the Christian Dada team for being a great partner and peer in our industry.
“I want us to be free from any systems, to prove who we are and what we do with just one riff of a guitar.”
What is the biggest lesson you take away from leaving Japan to show in Europe?
Despite having the opportunity to showcase BED j.w. FORD for several seasons in Europe now, we are still very much a small and unknown brand in that part of the world. It has provided great feedback myself and our team, to realize that we have the potential outside of Japan and much more to achieve towards challenging the current spectrum of fashion internationally in a freer way.
What’s next... will you be continuing to show in Europe?
Not sure at the moment, but it could be anywhere in the world. If we were that small indie band from Tokyo, we would still play the same sound anywhere in the world. Nothing changes for us, even if the place or venue we present our collection changes to a bigger stage.
Finally, without putting a finer point on it... if your BED j.w. FORD was a band who would it be...?
Firstly, I would rather liken myself to being lyricist and composer as opposed to being in a band. If BED j.w. FORD were a band however, we would want to be an indie band. I want us to be free from any systems, to prove who we are and what we do with just one riff of a guitar.
Words - Graeme Gaughan
Photography -Yuichi Akagi
Stylist - Masataka Hattori