The subject of streetwear is vast, and there is much to be told, as it is composed of a large number of "subcultures" that have shaped and influenced: punk, skate, hip-hop ... These different elements, these different cultures are mixed or superimposed to form a universe and a culture that is important to apprehend to understand the fashion, as it is offered to us today. What better way to understand a universe than to discover that of a particularly important influencer? Hiroshi Fujiwara is elusive: artist, designer, musician, snowboarder, DJ, nicknamed "the godfather of streetwear". or "the godfather of harajuku", he has earned a reputation and importance that rank him among the most influential people in Japanese street culture. Let's discover together his career.
Hiroshi Fujiwara was born in 1964 in the city of Ise, in the prefecture of Mie. Since the years 76/77 and the cultural shock rock / punk, he is passionate about fashion and music - in addition to skateboarding, he practices since he was a child. He moved to Tokyo at the age of 18, then traveled to London for two months.
London still bears the stigmata of the punk, rebellious current, which agitated it and gave it an international cultural aura. There, introduced by a friend, Hiroshi Fujiwara joins a community of young diverse artists: John Maybury (British director) Stephen Jones and David Holah (both designers) and Boy George (singer, musician, DJ). He also meets Vivienne Westwood and his companion Malcom Mc Laren (great musician of the time and, among other things, former manager of Sex Pistols in the 70s) who begs him to visit New York, the city of London being really too "boring" (according to him).
Finally in New York, he discovers the hip-hop scene of the east coast (it is at this time that the hip-hop scene emerges). Until this trip, Hiroshi Fujiwara was a little torn between his two cultures: the skate culture, and the trash rock culture, which he had trouble connecting. His trip to New York, as well as the rise of hip-hop, will allow him to position himself more easily in terms of style. These "initiatory" trips will serve as a basis of inspiration and work for the years to come: the street becomes the central element where converge music, sports (mainly skateboarding), arts, fashion: in short, a whole pan of a new culture of youth, rich in many facets.
Of these trips, on his return to Tokyo, he brings back a certain DJ-ing culture - he sees himself as a "cultural DJ" - since it mixes with its own vinyls and recordings in the clubs of the capital (contrary to what had been done before: the clubs had the vinyls and the DJs were mixing with what was at their disposal).
In the 80s, this is a real novelty: we must remember that the trip as it is practiced today is easier, and that the Internet has abolished many barriers in recent years. Information being much easier to access, it has lost its value. Thanks to his travels, Hiroshi Fujiwara had access to a lot of information in real time, so it was to him that specialized magazines started to turn when they needed information.
At that time, in the early 80's, Hiroshi Fujiwara met Shawn Stüssy, creator of the Stüssy brand - a brand derived from California's surfwear trend. The brand succeeds in combining musical and artistic references to create a real universe; we can consider that from that moment, streetwear has become a style in its own right, and no longer a simple mix of pieces appropriate to each and every one. Hiroshi Fujiwara becomes ambassador of the brand in Tokyo.
We thus arrive at the pivotal years: the 90s.
After the economic bubble of the 1980s, which brought part of the Japanese population to Western luxury (Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, etc.), its implosion in the 1990s plunged the country into a deep recession . Direct consequence: the rise of a different fashion consumption, especially among young people: more personal, turned to the customization of clothing, misappropriation of brands. It is in this period that the district of Harajuku, in Tokyo, took the form that we know today: the shops are open 24 hours a day, and it is at this time that this district becomes the hippest and most "cool" district of the Japanese capital. Harajuku is an area of Tokyo that roughly extends from Harajuku subway station to Omotesando station.
The Goodenough brand was created in 1990. For a long time, the brand wanted to keep the secret on its designers, and anonymity was the rule. It is only much later that the brand will confirm the involvement of Hiroshi Fujiwara (HF) (who also found the name of the brand). The Goodenough brand was (and still is) entirely streetwear-oriented, it's the first of its kind in Japan. When it was created, HF was largely inspired by Stüssy. Goodenough's flagship product: the graphic tee shirts cool guys from Harajuku wore proudly.
Goodenough meets an immediate success with the youth of Harajuku, who sees it not only a mark of rebellion, but more a way to express themselves. It is thanks to the success of this brand that HF has been able to continue to make itself known and in particular to collaborate with international brands such as Nike.
In April 1993, HF participated in the creation of a shop (after the Japanese economic crisis of the 80s, real estate became cheap) Nowhere, in the district of Harajuku, with Jun Takahashi (creator of the label Undercover) and Tomoaki Nagao, called "Nigo" (creator of the label A Bathing Ape). In addition to Nike and adidas products, Takahashi and Nigo sell their own products (hand-made and in limited quantities, with the help of HF). Success is immediate.
The first piece from this collaboration, presented at the Nowhere store, is a custom version of a MA-1 type jacket. What is revolutionary is the fact that the military piece, made by the company Alpha, has been fully customized: one sleeve is replaced (in another subject), and the words "Anarchy Forever Forever Anarchy" , "Anarchy Comes Naturally", and "Chaos" were inscribed on the piece. A very punk way to revisit the military cloakroom! (Namely: the story of the A.F.F.A brand is closely related to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm Mc Laren who ran an accessories and clothing store called Sex on Kings Road in London in the 1970s.) 30 pieces were made by hand, and have been an instant success.
Since then, the brand has continued to exist and to release pieces sporadically.
This shop, this way of working has had a very important impact on the Japanese streetwear: with this point of sale, pieces as simple as T-shirts, sweatshirts, and sneakers can become limited and rare pieces. The obsession with the rare product, hard to find, was born at that time (we think here of the sneakers addict who have their event in Paris, for example).
During the 90s, HF launched a brand whose pieces were only intended for his friends and relatives, called "Electric Cottage" by Shaun Stüssy. The brand has collaborated with Good Enough and Stüssy. The line stopped when the brand changed its name (which it retains today): Fragment design.
In 2005, Hiroshi Fujiwara, together with Hirofumi Kiyonaga (creator of the Soph. Brand) and Hiroki Nakamura (creator of the Visvim brand), launched honeyee.com. The goal: to offer an e-shop different from what was offered by other websites then online, including adding a blog related to the shop.
In 1998, Mark Parker, president and CEO of Nike, is in Japan and meets HF he knew of reputation.
In 2002 is launched HTM, an experimental design project of Nike. HTM comes from the initials of the three founders' names: Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfiead - designer of the Air Max 1 from 1987, inspired by the George Pompidou Center, but also Air Jordan III and the majority of Air Jordan that will follow, from the Nike Air Huarache (running and basketball), etc. - and Mark Parker, CEO of the Nike Group.
HTM is a way to experiment and test new ideas. It is therefore an informal project, which advances according to the inspirations and works of each - the products are thus launched in an irregular way. The goal is to take classic sneakers, such as the Air Force 1, to change materials and logo to make a limited edition. It can also be new creations.
Nike is a big company but HTM is a much smaller branch, which simplifies the production process. HTM also rhymes with high quality making (for the end product to be exceptional) and limited edition production: from 1500 to 3000 pairs per model.
Here, I propose a very small selection of products. Really nothing exhaustive for once, the goal is just to show you what can come out of the HTM project.
The HTM Woven desert boot of 2002 has vegetable colors: beige, brown, olive green.
Launched in 2004, this crocodile version of the Air Force 1. Note the brand logo of HF, Fragment, on the heel.
Nike Flyknit technology was released in early 2012. HTM has launched two of its own models: the Nike Lunar Flyknit and the Nike Flyknit Racer. In 2013, HTM launched its own version, in two colors, of the Lunar Flyknit Chukka.
Hiroshi Fujiwara has also collaborated with other designers on pairs of Nike. I preferred to keep the models that interested me.
This pair of Air Zoom Tennis Classic is a collaboration between Nike and Uniform Experiment, for fall / winter 2011; there were four colors, available only in Soph stores. Japanese. Uniform Experiment is the label created by HF and Hirofumi Kiyonaga of SOPH.
In May 2010, Undercover (Jun Takahashi's label) and Fragment Design (HF) collaborate on a pair of Nike "match classic" from 1973. A minimalist and retro collaboration. This Swoosh!
The mythical FBT of Visvim
This is the iconic shoe of the brand Visvim, whose first model was released in 2001. HF had the idea of the shape of the shoe, inspired by the Amerindian moccasins; the letters FBT mean "Fun Boy Three", which is a band. Even today, Visvim continues to offer new versions of the FBT. You can follow the evolution of the model on Hypebeast.
The Converse x Fragment design collaboration
Produced in 2007, this collaboration, on the low model, remains very classic and refined. Other models were later revisited, including a high model, in collaboration with the shop Undefeated.
The Levi's Fenom line
The Fenom line is distinct from the classic Levi's brand. Born in 2005, it is entirely designed by Fragment Design. The line has also had several collaborations with Uniform Experiment, Takahashi Murakami, Nitro. You can preview the line on the hypebeast website.
Among others, HF also collaborated with Starbucks (design of a coffee and limited edition parts), Stussy, Neighborhood, Casio, Carhartt, Beats, Oakley, Clarks, Sacai, Supreme, APC, Eric Clapton (musician for whom he has designed clothing), and snowboard brand Burton, including 10 models of exclusive boards, and a jacket: the AK 457.
Recently, HF opened a Tokyo concept store: the swimming pool. He continues to work with Nike, thanks to his label Fragment Design.
Hiroshi Fujiwara is a key figure in streetstyle. He has imposed his mark in more than thirty years of career. A curious and multi-disciplinary artist, he remains one of the most influential people in Japanese fashion.
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