JT: You use a Mac?
HT: I guess not many people remember the days when we were using OS 9. People who line up at Apple stores don’t know of the desktop version (laugh). When you look back on the history, it’s pretty interesting.
JT: Which version of the Mac did you first own?
HT: The 512K, the version before the Macintosh Plus. Back in 1984. My first designs were created using a PC. Now it’s common to use a PC for designing, but at the time I had to explain how I went about the design process and how it was different to CG. The name of my new album comes from a font name used for Mac PCs back in the days.
JT: The font names came from the names of cities?
HT: Yes, a designer named Susan Kare was in charge of designing the fonts, icons and startup menu of Mac PCs.
HT: She was charismatic. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak considered her very special. I have no idea what she is doing now.
JT: I was influenced by punk and punk-like fashion. I came to know of Nobuhiko Kitamura of Hysteric Glamour before I came to know of Vivienne Westwood. I’m from Gunma prefecture, and when I was a high school student, Hysteric Glamour opened its first store in Ashikaga, Tochigi prefecture. Until then, I mostly had DC brands’ clothes with logos, and I was not crazy about fashion. Seeing Kitamura’s designs which were fused with musical elements, I was pleasantly surprised. That’s when I became interested in fashion. As for my designs, they were influenced by COMME des GARCONS and Martin Margiela.
HT: What do you think of Tokyo fashion nowadays?
JT: In Tokyo, young designers in their twenties to thirties are creating clothes that speak out to the global market. Similar to what we were doing with Harajuku street culture. In terms of quality though, there’s more work to be done in order to be accepted by Paris and other cities.
HT: Are you talking about street fashion items such as T-shirts?
JT: No, it’s a mix of street and mode, same as us. Maybe it’s similar to the work I’ve been doing, of wanting to create a new genre in Paris.
HT: Which brands for example?
JT: G.V.G.V. for instance. The brand is popular among young Japanese people, and it also holds exhibits in Paris. Once it has a clear global strategy, I think it will have the potential of becoming big through shows in Paris. When I talk to people in their twenties, I find the generation to be open to all types of fashion, including mine. I don’t have any specific brand names in mind, but I think the next generation is coming along strong.
HT: How old are you?
JT: I turn 45 this year. I guess I’m the same age as the parents of the people that are considered young today. I’m in the middle. You and Rei Kawakubo are my seniors. There’s also Nobuhiko Kitamura and Hiroshi Fujiwara. When talking to young designers, I feel that there’s lots of hope for Japanese fashion.
HT: I guess that’s how our work from the 80s gets passed onto the next generation.
JT: A couple of years ago, Japanese fashion became a boom overseas. Compared to then, Japanese fashion is now established globally. People from around the world highly rate us so there’s bound to be more of us that will mark their names internationally.
HT: It’s true that Japan may be the only one in Asia with this possibility.
JT: There’s hope for us in Japan.