The closing of designer Hiroshi Fujiwara’s concept store “The Pool Aoyama” after two years is perhaps the reality of how short-lived fashion trends are in Japan. Fujiwara tells us that he’s a free-spirit without any concrete plans, but we feel that he’s already got something in mind.
Fashion Headline (FH): Why have you decided to make The Pool Aoyama a two-year temporary store?
Fujiwara: It’s been a year since I’ve started the project and after consulting with my team, we’ve reached the conclusion that The Pool Aoyama has already served its purpose. Let me just say that I wasn’t the one that came up with the idea of closing the store (laugh). Now, I have the time to start something new, but the space of The Pool won’t be put to waste.
FH: Are you completely satisfied with your Pool project?
Fujiwara: Actually I still have one thing that I want to achieve. I want to recreate The Pool in a parking lot, similar to a Chinese restaurant operating in a parking lot located in Ginza.
FH: You mean Delica at Ginza 8-chome. You could use Isetan’s parking space.
Fujiwara: If Isetan agrees, I’d like to use up two parking spaces.
FH: Have you already begun your next project?
Fujiwara: Although I’ve decided to close “The Pool Aoyama”, it still has a year to go. So no, I haven’t started any new projects. I’m interested in operating a new store with a U-shaped counter. The idea was inspired when I visited a pawn shop in the US.
FH: Is this idea something that you’d been planning on for a while?
Fujiwara: No. As I was pondering on the next theme for The Pool Aoyama, I remembered the pawn shop that I visited when I was in the US ten years ago. I liked how the store staff was speaking face to face with customers over a counter. It’s so easy to buy stuff off the Internet these days, but I think that communication with customers is so important. I also like to go to restaurants with counter service rather than table service. I feel it’s easier to communicate with the people working at the restaurants. The atmosphere provided by a space is just as important as communication. I think people shop at places like Isetan and The Pool because they like the ambiance.
FH: E-commerce has influenced our lifestyles in big ways.
Fujiwara: In the past, it was considered most trendy to purchase items at individual stores as opposed to department stores. But if you are shopping through the Internet, it doesn’t really matter which shop you buy from. It’s kind of sad that client-store relationships are becoming limited due to the fact that we don’t need to go to actual stores to make purchases.
Read Part 4 for more.