In 1985, Hajime Tachibana collaborated with Radical TV and presented an artwork based on technology at the International Video Biennale. The artwork harmonizes digital with analog, machines with human beings, and high technology with low technology. At the time when the sales of records exceeded those of CDs, he introduced artworks whose themes were the digitization of sounds and images. He started solo exhibits in the 90s and received the ADC award for typography in 1991.

UNDERCOVER debuted at the Tokyo collections during the 1994-95 AW season and began participating in the Paris collections from 2003 SS. It took two years off from Paris and then returned in 2013-14 AW. Its unique representation of mode is highly appraised by overseas media.

Jun Takahashi (JT): I’m omnivorous in that I like both folk and minimal techno as well as various genres of movies and fashion. My style is about combining different elements to create a mix of Tokyo cultures.

Hajime Tachibana (HT): So you bring out the best of Tokyo using Japanese styles.

JT: I’m part of the remix generation symbolic of the 90s. I see these aspects in your work as well. Your latest album “Monaco” mixes several components doesn’t it?

HT: In the late 70s, cultures relating to Tokyo became popular throughout the world, and I suppose “mixing” hasn’t changed much since then. I chose the USB format for Monaco because I knew that CDs and DVDs would be replaced with files. From now on, my work will be distributed as data, so I’m hoping that my fans will store my data into this USB device. This way, I can connect with the fans over a long period of time. I’ve also updated my website and design for T-shirts and begun selling the data of my books online.

JT: When it comes to fashion, digitization is difficult, and I haven’t been able to incorporate this in my works yet. I find your work very interesting because it ties in with the trends today. If I were to release an archive of my past shows, which total to forty seasons, my first idea would be to create a box set of DVDs. But I guess a USB device would be more suitable.

HT: I think you can do it. You have the skills, and you can use a Mac. I think you would need something more than just a USB though.

JT: How about I create a gigantic USB? (Laugh)

HT: I suppose it could be anything really, as long as it fulfills its purpose.

JT: New things usually start in Tokyo, and people in other countries start the same thing as if it were their own.

HT: I always strive to start something completely new in the world. I guess this is the Tokyo spirit. I feel that Japanese creators are becoming more and more international. You and Hiroshi Fujiwara are global trendsetters.

JT: Being worldwide has become the new standard.

HT: When I was a member of the Plastics, there was a divide between Japan and the rest of the world. Kind of like, being the best in Japan rather than the best in the world because that’s what we believed was truly the best. Now, the name of the country doesn’t really matter. Good things are good anywhere.

JT: I think the Internet played a big role in this. When I started off as a designer though, the Internet was yet to be born. Business expanded through your networks of people.

To be continued into 6/6.