PHENOMENON boasts enormous popularity among the men's brands in Tokyo. The brand is growing at an overwhelming speed, achieving its runway debut in the previous season and attracting purchases from all buyers that visited the exhibition ― a feat unheard of for a debuting designer. The collection that the designer, Takeshi Osumi, himself says is "easier to wear than the previous collection," is worth checking out.
What is your theme for the current season?
Osumi：I always get my inspiration from the music that I'm listening to at the time. This time, I often listened to music of the Chillwave genre, such as Surf Rock and Washed Out, and classic house music and tribal house music of the 1990s. I wanted to create this summery sense. The music I listened to was very fresh and exhilarating.
How did you incorporate the image of the music into your designs?
Osumi：For instance, I got the hint of balancing a proper shirt with a loose-fitting wrap (like a skirt) from the formal attire of tropical countries, such as the outfit of the concierge of hotels in those countries. The triangle motif that is heavily used in the patterns was inspired by the tattoos of the Maori. I think that a tattoo-like feel was achieved by printing the triangle motifs on organdy. The other thing is the flies. When you think of summer, you think of flies, right? (Laughs) Therefore, I wanted to incorporate this "harsh reality of summer." The fly studs are custom-order, of course, and look nice because each one was individually carved.
The vest made of wicker that appeared in the second half of the show was the true pièce de résistance!
Osumi：I wanted to design clothes made of wicker, and as I was conducting research, I happened to meet a wicker artist called Akimichi Hashimoto. Normally, he creates objects such as jugs and imaginary animals. The vest that he made is very intricate and I don't plan to sell it, but if I was to put a price on it, it would be about 2 million yen… The small objects have been commercialized.
I heard that at this show, the venue was packed, and there were 1,172 viewers (unique number) that tuned into the JFW TV (JFW×USTREAM), which was the third highest viewer rate in the world.
Osumi：It was only our second show, but I was fortunate that so many people saw the show. Many key figures also came to see the show, and we got a greater response than for our previous show (2010-11 Fall-Winter).
In terms of design, I'm told that this season's design is simple and easy to wear, although I wasn't particularly conscious about this fact. For the previous collection, we had kind of let loose in a way, and the clothes may have been more eccentric. I imagine that some people thought that the clothes were difficult to wear, but it was probably easier to choose clothes from this collection. Actually, the expansion of our brand to foreign countries was all decided after our previous show. Foreign buyers that saw our show called to make an appointment the following day, came to our showroom straight away, and ordered our products. We also got a lot of positive feedback from foreign buyers for this show.
What made you decide to become a designer?
Osumi：I think it started with my love of music. When I was in middle school, I liked punk rock, and I started to become interested in clothes because I wanted to wear the same clothes as my favorite singers. Therefore, the simple rule of "music=fashion" has not changed for me.