Nanamica continues to impress us with their unique and functional approach to detail in products that merge classic menswear and technical sportswear; so much so in fact, that we decided to get inside the head of Nanamica's creative director Eiichiro Homma. Incidentally, Homma also happens to be the brain behind the ultra sought after Purple North Face collection which can only be obtained in Japan. So it is with great pleasure that we can tap you on your welldressed shoulders and bring you this interview.
What are you currently working on that excites you the most?
I have been, for some time now working on producing a book, which showcases 15 years of Nanamica. It is our first attempt at an archive book since we launched our business back in 2003 and in it you will find all our stories and the philosophy behind Nanamica. It was supposed to be published in time for our 10th anniversary. However, since we were so busy, it was postponed to “next year” five times in a row. Our 10th year in particular was so busy for us since we moved our head office and had to prepare for our fourth store “Nanamica MOUNTAIN”.
Another factor was, after 10 years, it became difficult for us to collect old samples for shooting. We offered our customers and friends two new jackets for each of their vintage Nanamica pieces they could provide us with. Now the book is complete and we are happy to introduce it and share with our customers and friends all over the world.
Where do you find inspiration?
Since “Nanamica” should be a high level mix of fashion and function, I get a lot of inspiration whilst traveling in different environments and in life - as a user of Nanamica garments. Another opportunity is when I am a commuter. I always enjoy viewing other commuters on the go using public transport.
In Tokyo there are so many different people on public transport and it is fun for me to observe and then consider these people when designing and imaging their future.
What’s your most important task in life and in your work?
I have been an avid sailor for many years. The sailing population in Japan has been decreasing for around 25 years though – since the bubble burst in the Japanese economy. I would like to share how sailing is wonderful and feeling the beat of the earth above and sea below is as comforting as it gets. This seems to be my life’s work.
On the business side of things, I continue to dive into the world of “Nanamica” to get a clear understanding about ourselves and beliefs. We are often recognized solely as “The North Face Purple Label”. But we are “Nanamica” and The North Face Purple Label is our collaboration with The North Face. And this distinction is obviously paramount to us.
What makes your partnership with Goods relevant for you and Nanamica?
I think Japanese and Scandinavians are both new players in fashion and the lifestyle industry and I personally feel good chemistry since both nations like clean and well-balanced, natural and sophisticated style. So Goods is a good gateway to our Scandinavians customers.
We always meet up with you guys in either Florence or Paris. What’s your take on these cities compared to Tokyo?
Compared to Tokyo, Florence is a small but very historical city. All of our Nanamica team members love the atmosphere and air in the city since it is the 180 degree opposite of Tokyo. We also love Tuscan cuisine. When I was young, I recognized Pitti as the most important and biggest international menswear show in the world. Today Pitti is still very big for us but at the same time it is a very Italian show compared to the international feel of Paris and New York. We still enjoy buyers reactions there and their love for clothing rather than business.
Tokyo is a big and energetic city and Japanese brands have a significant influence on the global fashion market. However, Tokyo has not yet become a fashion business platform since many Japanese buyers still prefer to participate in foreign platforms such as Florence, Paris and New York.
"In Tokyo there are so many different people on public transport and it is fun for me to observe and then consider these people when designing and imaging their future."
As we understand it, you emphasise on export more than many of your fellow Japanese brands. Why is that?
Most Japanese brands have to present every new aspect each season. However, we do not change our aspects dramatically but simply try to improve them. We believe our garment should be good tools, which support a human’s life. This philosophy seems to be better received in Europe and North America than in Japan.
Have you ever been to Copenhagen? If yes, what’s your favourite place? If no, what would you like to see if you came here?
I have been to Copenhagen once – back in October 2010. I only stayed a couple of nights to visit my customers before heading to Malmø. I remember enjoying the city and an art installation of Husk Mit Navn at that time. I should book a trip back to Copenhagen and stay for longer to see how the city has changed.
Would you like to recommend something?
Go to the sea, listen to the sound of the waves, breathe in the sea breeze and feel the beat of the earth. It will refresh your heart.