“Whether good or bad, I think we are now in an ‘easy’ time,” says designer Fumito Ganryu of men’s brand GANRYU.

Fashion brand GANRYU was launched in 2008. We interviewed the designer after its 2014 SS Collection show presented at an exhibit for COMME des GARÇONS.

For the latest collection show, BGM was used for the first time. Hair and makeup accentuated each of the styles. “Participating in Tokyo Fashion Week this March has made me more adventurous. Ms. Kawakubo suggested that I try out something new, which is why I used BGM for the first time. I want to continue to try out new things where possible.”

“I came up with the theme ‘Surf the balance’ when I was trying to think of a concept that went with ‘easy-going.’ Surf here is used metaphorically, meaning surfing with one’s senses. I chose a general word that is used naturally overseas that expresses the state of being light = to go with the flow; kind of like the word cruise. It also fits my mood to wear something light,” explains Mr. Ganryu.

In the collection, relaxed styles incorporating a mix of different materials and patchworks were introduced. Amongst the various types of prints, shark print was seen. This print has a similar look to crocodile leather.

“I’ve liked sharks since I was a child. Leather from sharks is really rigid, like tires and not suited for designing clothes. What I did for the collection was to make a photocopy of shark leather and print it onto soft materials. I think this approach would not have worked without the help of high quality Japanese print technology.”

The shark leather prints were introduced on many materials and items such as synthetic fibers, bags and Thai fisherman pants. “I’ve wanted to introduce shark leather prints for a while. I was waiting for the right timing. The items from the collection will be lined-up at stores next spring/summer and they will be worn in about a year’s time, which was perfect timing for me.”

GANRYU is characterized by the unique silhouettes used for its bottoms. “I like to play with the silhouettes of bottoms. Back in the days, I liked to wear loose silhouettes when I used to skateboard. For tops, I like tailored items, which are in contrast to the loose bottoms. I want to create neutral styles by combining opposing elements. For example, styling a top from Supreme with pants from Martin Margiela. I feel that without the right balance of items, I become both emotionally and physically unstable.”

The latest season features military×Spencer jackets, and tailored collars×sporty blousons. Gradation of colors was switched over on designs.

“I continue to try to think up of combinations which do not exist in reality yet. I combine opposing elements to create styles that work well. For the 2014 SS Collection, I combined intermediate colors such as red with yellow, and green with blue. I integrated the collection by combining intermediate elements of shapes and ideas to bring in ethnicity and the ethnicity of concepts, so to speak.”

Even within the COMME des GARÇONS group, the brand is perceived to be different and unique.

“Sometimes our brand is categorized as street fashion, but I don’t consider this to be the case. I don’t think it is necessary for me and my customers to have the same opinion though. After all, fashion is a free state of mind. If liberty is lost, it would mean that all of us would be wearing uniforms.”

“Each time I work on a collection, I find myself at a loss. I am able to create clothes, which I want to wear and, which will sell, but I am unable to reach the ultimate goal that I set for myself. I want to make a statement that does not exist anywhere in the world or in the world of COMME des GARÇONS. I’m thinking of something intrinsically nonexistent and hoping that’s the very reason that my designs can be well received around the world. I want to create universal items. I am unable to express my intentions in words, as words make each of my visions seem meaningless. I think that once I achieve my goals, I will make a public statement saying that I have reached them. Since my aim is to create something completely new, I need to continue to challenge myself rather than to follow predecessors. I want to create designs which inspire me and others.”

Needless to say, it is clear that Mr. Ganryu's roots stem from COMME des GARÇONS.