This article is the second part to the interview of Candy Stripper’s designer Yoshie Itabashi and Japanese actress Fumi Nikaido carried out at Isetan Shinjuku department store.
On her experience of being a part of Candy Stripper’s design team for the collaboration brand “Fumi Nikaido Roots Candy Stripper”, Nikaido told us that it made her more aware of the fact that well-made products are expensive for a reason and that it is important to be able to perceive the essence of each item.
Fashion Headline (FH): What are your thoughts on your first collaboration with a fashion brand?
Nikaido: The experience of designing clothes was completely new to me, but my approach was no different to when taking part in the making of a movie. In designing clothes, I was more conscious about the part of having to have to sell the clothes after making them. When making a movie, my main focus is creating the best quality there is, but when it came to clothes, I also thought about the price and other factors. It’s important to focus on quality, but it’s equally important to price the clothes at an amount that people are willing to pay for. It’s easy to buy nice things if you pay a lot of money for them, but I wanted to design clothes that were just the right price, meaning an affordable price. For example, the sukajan jacket is priced at 50,000 yen, and it’s not cheap, but when you look at the intricate embroidery and details, you will find that it is actually worth about twice the price.
■ Itabashi and Nikaido’s Thoughts on Fast Fashion
Nikaido: Talking to Yoshie, I get the impression that each item relating to fashion from the fifties and what we call vintage clothing was made with time and care. Back then, I feel that people would pass up on a meal to save up to buy nice clothing. But when it comes to people of my generation, we don’t buy expensive clothes, we don’t know of brand names and quite often people don’t understand the value of clothing made by brands and why it costs as much as it does. As for me, I was never really into fast fashion and opted for paying the right price for good value. When you hold a really nice piece of clothing in your hand, you feel its essence and get a wonderful feeling inside.
Itabashi: If more young people felt the way Fumi does, I think that Japanese fashion would become more interesting. Fumi’s keen sense for fashion and beautiful things is something that I love.
■ Similarities Between Fashion and Movies
FH: Do you see any similarities between movies and fashion?
Nikaido: Whenever I take part in making a movie, I feel like I’m not just an actress, but also someone contributing to the overall filmmaking. As an actress, I wear the costumes, use the props and act on the set. My role is to bring meaning to each of the actions taken by my character. This is similar to designing clothes in the sense that I need to give meaning to the design and think about how comfortable the clothes will be on the wearer.
For this collaboration, the sensibilities that I have attained as an actress and those of Yoshie, who plays a huge role in defining Tokyo trends and Harajuku fashion, have come together. Yoshie and I are both creators, and as creators we aim to produce true experiences and valuable works. When the output is successful, the final product is something that will be appreciated by the customers. I’m glad to have been a part of this project.
■ Things Learnt from the Past and the Meaning They Give for the Future
FH: Past history has a big influence on many of the things in the world today, be it fashion or something else. Fumi, what have you learnt in the past, which will continue to be helpful?
Nikaido: I love kimonos and often wear them, so I find it slightly disappointing that many young Japanese women don’t know how to put on a kimono by themselves. I feel that there are so many Japanese people that don’t know their country, and this makes it difficult for the next generation to preserve and continue our culture. We’re good at taking in cultures from overseas, but I feel that we should learn more about ourselves before trying out others. There’s so much here, like the embroidery, colors and technologies. There are so many great made in Japan movies and fashion that Japanese people don’t know about. Kimonos are a part of Japanese fashion, and I’m sad that people only wear them on special occasions.
FH: What do you anticipate for Candy Stripper in the next decade or two?
Itabashi: It’s a conscious effort on my end to not plan for the future. I place importance on how I feel in the present and my instincts at the time. I express what I have at the moment into the designs.
I love music, and often come up with great ideas while I’m at a concert. My goal is to mix the things that never change with the emotions that come and go to create collections that are exciting and fun.
FH: Fumi, what do you love about fashion?
Nikaido: Whenever I wear something that I love, it lifts my spirits. And if you look into each piece of clothing, you find that there is a whole story behind it. A well-designed piece of clothing shines on its own. Just as I’m excited by fashion, I hope that the pieces in this collaboration will excite someone else.