The details of The Pool Shinjuku were not revealed until the opening day on June 17. Fashion Headline interviewed designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, the man behind the project, on the behind the scenes.
Fashion Headline (FH): What was the intent of the project “The Pool Shinjuku”?
Fujiwara: I wanted to expand on the concept of The Pool in a new location. Isetan was my top choice when I thought of working with a department store. In fact, I think Isetan is the only department store that is involved in such creative projects.
FH: What kind of image do you have of Isetan?
Fujiwara: I think Isetan is at the pinnacle of department stores and that others admire it. Isetan proposes ideas that go beyond what we expect from department stores, and it is slowly changing the concept that we have in our minds. My previous image was that department stores sold conventional items, which I wasn’t necessarily looking to purchase. With Isetan’s help, department stores are becoming more and more like large-scale select shops.
FH: Have you always shopped at Isetan?
Fujiwara: During my twenties, I didn’t shop at Isetan and shopped in the Shinjuku area only occasionally. At the time, department stores didn’t appeal to younger generations. Nowadays, department stores are frequented by many types of people, and there are lots to see. I’m excited about my pop-up at Isetan. Although I’m not sure what the result will be, since The Pool is a concept space that provides unique items that can only be found at our Aoyama store. Even if customers come to like The Pool, the store is only available in Aoyama until next spring.
FH: Your idea to set up a billiard table at Isetan Shinjuku was kept a secret until opening day.
Fujiwara: Since I wasn’t able to recreate a pool within Isetan, I decided to create an imaginary bar with a black billiard table. Most of the items I’ve chosen for the event are related to the theme of a pool. Some of the items introduce the original “The Pool Shinjuku” logo.
FH: My image of you overlaps with London in the 80s, when pool bars were hip.
Fujiwara: Images of snooker and motifs of eight-ball go well with fashion. I’ve created original designs based on these ideas and also collaborated with FPAR and other brands.
FH: It seems that you have partnered up with Tokyo brands that you have worked with in the past as well.
Fujiwara: I’ve known the designers of Stussy, Undercover and FPAR for a long time. As for Yosuke Aizawa of White Mountaineering and Makoto Azuma of AMKK, I’ve gotten to know them through work.
With respect to N.HOOLYWOOD, I had the image of the brand designing military/trad items, but by working together, I realized that its designer also likes rock taste. By communicating with each of the artists, I come to see our similarities and their passion for what they do.
FH: Were there any challenges?
Fujiwara: I’m pretty open to changing my ideas if need be, but I see that some creators are very persistent about what they want to achieve. When organizing a pop-up event that has time and space limitations, I make sure to change my ideas in accordance with the constraints of the task.
FH: Fashion can be very time-sensitive.
Fujiwara: I find it amazing that Isetan can create a brand new pop-up space from the previous day’s closing hours to the day’s opening hours. I can imagine some stores taking an entire month to do the same job. I was surprised to find out that people work during the early hours of 3 or 4 am to get the assignment done.
FH: I heard that most of the event spaces are completed at 6 am.
Fujiwara: It might be a good idea to host a shopping event at breakfast time, similar to the Breakfast at Tiffany’s events held by Tiffany & Co.
FH: It’s trendy these days to eat breakfast out. Do you ever go out in the mornings?
No, but I would if the breakfast was hosted by Isetan.
See Part 3 to find out about the closing of The Pool Aoyama and what Fujiwara has planned next.