Hajime Tachibana released “Monaco” last September and resumed work as a musician after six years. The album was released in limited numbers as USB art pieces. This April, another USB version was released and drew attention as a project fusing music, art and technology.

Hajime Tachibana (HT): When I was a member of the Plastics, people would ask me whether I was a graphic designer or musician. People often think that I work in various fields, but actually, it’s just design and music. I like fashion, but I’m not too picky, as long as the clothes are fun. When it comes to clothes, I follow you and Hiroshi’s fashion. With design and music, my specialty, I shouldn’t be a follower, but a leader. Since the two are part of my job, it’s not just about having fun.

Jun Takahashi (JT): I understand.

HT: It’s hard for a musician to release one album in a year, but you manage to pull off two collection shows in a year. I think that’s amazing.

JT: Actually, that's the rule when it comes to fashion. The schedules of shows and exhibits are directly linked with business. It’s not about whether I can do it or not. I have to follow the rule in order to work in the industry.

HT: Even then, it’s still amazing!

JT: You do get used to it, but the bottom line is that I love fashion.

HT: Have you ever considered taking some time off from a particular season?

JT: There’s never been a time when I didn’t want to present my collections, but at times I didn’t want to hold shows. In those cases, I thought of other ways to present my collections. I’ve also never had the feeling of not wanting to design clothes, because I always want to.

The graphics for “Monaco” gave me a clear view of your album. You take a completely different approach as me. I usually work on basics using a computer, but you see everything more deeply.

HT: Deeply?

JT: Since the 90s, you have worked very closely with typography and applications. I admire your fussiness when it comes to these two subjects (laugh).

HT: I’m just doing my job. Sometimes I get fed up of my fussiness though. I spent all year working on Monaco, so this year I kind of want to take it easy. That’s why I admire the fact that you constantly present two collections in one year.

JT: I overcome many challenges to create the collections though. The sales of my company are affected by the decisions that I make. I need to consider my family as well. UNDERCOVER will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year. Before, our customers would age with me, but nowadays I also have young customers in their twenties. I need to make the right decisions fast in order to keep up with my job. This is crucial in the fashion industry. If I took time off, I think I would become anxious that I wouldn’t be able to make the right decisions.

HT: All together it took six months for me to create Monaco, and I can’t see myself starting a new project straight after.

JT: Real artists don’t work towards a deadline or present their works incomplete. They place importance on timing before everything else, don’t they?

HT: True.

JT: In that aspect, fashion designers are similar to craftsmen. If we worry too much about all the details, we won’t be able to move forward.

To be continued into 4/6.