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Alan Knit Production Diary March Interview/Photographer Wahei Kimura

STORY | 2020/04/01

"Alan Knit Production Diary", which started in July last year, will reach its final episode this month. To wrap it up, I'd like to hear from someone who's actually worn the "sweater in memory." The first is Mr. Wahei Kimura, a photographer. On a spring day, we met in Kichijoji and listened to his story.

Mr. Wahei Kimura, who did the visual shoot for 2019-2020 "Sweater in Memory", is an old friend of Yuki. Yuki calls Wahei "Kazuherin". Mr. Wahei first encountered Yuki's work at a group exhibition called "Daydream" held at Design Festa Gallery Harajuku in 2012.

Kimura: Today, I brought a stole that I ordered from "Daydream".

Fujisawa Amazing, do you still have it? Hand-dyed stole.

Kimura: I ordered this stole when I met Yuki for the first time in Daydream.

Fujisawa Nostalgic. This is a dyeing method that is no longer used. Instead of dyeing from white to one color like gradation dyeing, there are a few colors in various places.

Kimura: Looking at it again, I thought it was completely different from now. This unevenness is very good. This was the first Yuki's work I got. At that time, you were making Aurora skirts and scrunchies, right?

Fujisawa Yes. At that time, it wasn't used clothes yet, I bought pure white fabric and dyed it.

Around the time the group exhibition "Daydream" was held, Yuki was still working under the name "Heart no," before launching "YUKI FUJISWAWA." On the other hand, Wahei Kimura was still in his teens at the time. How did each other's existence appear at the time?

Kimura: At that time, I was devoting everything to clothes, and I was working part-time to buy them (laughs). At first, I fell in love with clothes because of second-hand clothes, but as I gradually came to know more about brands, I found that I liked brands that had handmade elements. There was a time when I was really obsessed with the fact that there was manual work involved, but Yuki's work felt right there.

Fujisawa: Kazuherin might have been the first one a man bought. Now I make T-shirts and knitwear, and I make proposals for unisex, but in the past I used to have a lot of colors that girls would instinctively say, “I like you!” That's why I was happy to touch a man's heartstrings, so Kazuherin left an impression on me. You were better dressed back then, weren't you?

Kimura: Around that time, I used to buy big women's clothes all the time. Ever since I was little, I liked things that were said to be girlish rather than boyish things, and that's how fashion started. I didn't have the feeling that "this is girly, let's stop", so when I saw what Yuki made, I simply thought, "This is amazing!"

“I was very attached to the manual work involved,” says Wahei. Many people feel that they prefer something that is individually handcrafted to something that is mass-produced in a factory. However, what kind of feeling is there in the background that says "I was obsessed with it"?

Kimura: I don't only wear handmade things, I wear UNIQLO T-shirts and underwear, but it's clear that I put a lot of thought into handmade things. It's the same as buying a picture drawn by that person, and it's such a good mental level that you can see Yuki's face when you look at the clothes. I really believed in things that had passion, passion, and sweat in them, so in the same way that I only want to eat vegetables that I can see the faces of the producers, I didn't want to know who made them. Maud was especially strong when I was in my teens.

Fujisawa: When I heard the story, I remembered that I had the same feeling. That's why I was particular about manual work, and I thought that even if I wasn't there, I could convey my thoughts through objects. Now I can think about things like ``This will make it easier to wear,'' or ``This will make it more durable.'' I felt like I was putting my prayers into my work. I believed that when someone wore it, it would give them courage or strength.

Kimura: Yes, I believed in it. I still feel that way, but at the time I had a stronger sense of "wearing the feelings of the creator."

In 2014, Yuki changed the brand name to "YUKI FUJISAWA" and started producing "sweaters in memory". At first, the products were sold wholesale to stores, but the first exhibition was held in 2015.

Kimura: After I bought the first stole, I vaguely watched Yuki-san's activities on the Internet. Ever since I learned that you started making knitwear, I've always wanted one, but I felt like I shouldn't buy it until I really got it.

Fujisawa: When I held my first exhibition in 2015, Kazuherin came. The 2015 knitwear was made after I went to the Aran Islands in 2014, so I was conscious of the color of the sea and the light, and made opal-colored knitwear. That's probably what stuck in Kazuherin.

Kimura: Yeah, yeah. I remember that exhibition very well.

Exhibition in 2015 / photo by Hyota Nakamura

Fujisawa: Since it was my first exhibition, I asked a space designer named Yuta Nakamura to create a space for me. I asked them to make a stone that was hardened with cement as an exhibition stand, and I likened it to the stone of the Aran Islands.

Kimura: It was super cool. Earlier, I said arrogantly, "Don't buy until you're really tired," but until I met Yuki-san, I was recklessly buying clothes. I spent all my part-time money on it, and when I no longer wore it, I would give it to a friend. But when I started taking pictures, the amount of clothes I bought suddenly decreased. It was a time when I was in a mode of narrowing down the things I would buy with money to something I could have for the rest of my life. I've always liked deep green, and the 2015 exhibition was a perfect fit for me at that time.

Exhibition in 2015 / photo by Hyota Nakamura

When I met Mr. Wahei, Mr. Yuki had just started a series called “NEW VINTAGE,” which applies foil to old clothes and accessories. On the other hand, Mr. Wahei said that he had just started taking pictures.

Fujisawa: From the first time we met, I might have had the image of "Kazuherin-kun, who likes clothes and takes pictures."

Kimura: Then I guess you've already touched the camera.

Fujisawa: I think the camera was hanging. I remember that appearance very well. Fashionable, with a camera, tall.

Kimura: I didn't get into photography by creating works, but I started taking pictures because I liked clothes. At that time, the fashion snap site was very complete, and I was a member of it. someone who takes snaps. So I went to Harajuku almost every day.

Fujisawa: That's why I had the image of "If you go to Harajuku, you'll see Kazuherin." It was around the time when there was still a “GAP” at the Meiji Jingumae intersection.

Kimura: I didn't make any promises to anyone, but it felt like there was always someone there whenever I went to Lawson in Harajuku.

Yuki's "sweater in memory" is stamped with foil and shines in the light. Mr. Wahei's photographs are also often discussed with the keyword "light". Mr. Wahei, what did you feel during the visual shoot for "Sweater in Memory"?

Sweater in the memory 2019 / photo by Kazuhei Kimura

Kimura: Even before I saw YUKI FUJISAWA through photography, I naturally felt the light in Yuki's clothes, and I thought that was good. But when I saw YUKI FUJISAWA through photography, I became even more attached to it. When I ask a third party to write about my photographs, the word "Hikari" often comes up, but lately I've been trying not to say "Hikari" myself. It's not like I'm doing photography for Hikari, so it's ideal if I end up with Hikari. That's why, when I was filming "Sweater in Memory," I had Hikari as a premise, so I think I was able to shoot without thinking about anything.

Fujisawa: You sent an email to Kazuherin as soon as you saw the photos. I feel like the email was like a love letter (laughs).

Kimura: It's like a love letter, come on (laughs)

Fujisawa: When I saw the photo, I thought, "Ah, you understand." There is a photographer who has been asking me to take pictures for a long time, and I have known him for a long time, so of course I am a tsuka, but for those who ask me to shoot for the first time, I am half-expectant, but there is also a part of me that is anxious. But Kazuherin wondered if it would be all right to leave everything to him. That was also reflected in the photos that came up, and I was really touched that he was looking at me with such a gentle look. It was when I first felt the joy of being treated so well as a creator.

Sweater in the memory 2019 / photo by Kazuhei Kimura

Kimura I'm happy. I don't know, maybe I wasn't thinking, "Let's take a good picture of this knit" or something like that. When I usually shoot fashion, I put a lot of thought into it, and I'm often asked to do that. However, when I interviewed Yuki-san beforehand, he said, "You don't have to try hard to show your clothes."

Fujisawa: I was happy to think that I was able to take a picture without any evil thoughts. Of course, it's a photo to show to everyone, so it's an advertisement, but when it comes to advertisements, I inevitably turn my attention to "What kind of material is the clothes made of, what kind of silhouette, and what kind of image is the person wearing?" But it's not like that, it's like the emotions that are there are captured properly.

Kimura: It was a big deal for me to be entrusted to Mr. Yuki. During the month I had my knitwear, I took it out almost every day, and when I found a gap, I dressed Ayano-chan and took rough pictures. ). However, if I thought too much or had a lot of staff, I don't think it would have turned out like this, so I think it was good to do it this way.

Sweater in the memory 2019 / photo by Kazuhei Kimura

It's been nearly 10 years since Mr. Wahira and Mr. Yuki met. The two weren't always close, but they touched on each other's work at every turn. That's why there are places where you notice each other's changes, isn't it?

Fujisawa: I think Kazuherin has become kinder to herself.

Kimura: No, did you get kinder?

Fujisawa Originally, he had a soft impression, but I think he was the type of person who tried to erase his traces. I was the same, I wanted to make sure that I would not be left on the internet, and I was very concerned about what kind of person people would think of me. But as the years have passed, I think both Kazuherin and I have lost some strength in our shoulders, in a good way.

Kimura: It might be.

Fujisawa: I think Kazuherin's photos have also become kinder. I wondered if I was able to do things like "take pictures without trying to take pictures" just now—I'm sorry, but that sounds arrogant.

Kimura No, really. When I started taking pictures, I started by imitating others, saying, "Let's take this kind of thing." Now, in a good way, I think I've become able to relax and take pictures. Including his behavior, as Yuki said, I think he used to be really sharp (laughs).

Fujisawa: No, I can't talk about people either.

Kimura Yuki-san, I have the impression that you really have become a craftsman when it comes to making things. It's the same with my photography, but I think it's often very rough-hewn at first, until you turn an idea into a work of art. Yuki-san puts in that kind of originality and emotion, but the quality is really high. Moreover, it's updated every time, so every time I see it, it makes me go, "Wow!" (laughs)

Fujisawa: Thank you.

Kimura: I don't know, I think some people throw away too much of the emotions they had at the beginning or the things they cherished from the beginning when it sells. Yuki-san, as the brand grows and the number of sales increases, I'm sure there are some parts that have accepted it, but I didn't make you feel that at all. I have the impression that the ability is becoming a craftsman while protecting it. No, you're really stoic.

Fujisawa I am very happy to be called a craftsman. But I probably won't be able to become a true craftsman. I get tired of it myself, so I change it in a direction like, "If it's like this, it's more exciting." For example, when it comes to the sales method, if you sell it wholesale to a store, it will spread a lot, but if you do that, you won't know who's wearing it, and you'll feel distant and lonely. That's why this year, I decided to sell only at the atelier shop without wholesale to the store.

Kimura: Right. Certainly, the delivery method has changed a lot.

Fujisawa Yes. In this way, if you choose a way of doing things that you haven't had before, you will make new discoveries. Then, by communicating with the customer, it spreads, saying, "He likes this kind of thing," or, "Oh, next time I make something like this, it looks good on that person." That's how I think I'm choosing something that I can continue while being excited.

"Finally, I would like to say that I was really happy to be able to shoot." After talking for a while, Mr. Wahei cut out.

"It's a clichéd expression, but I want to tell myself that the day will come when I'll be photographing Yuki's work. When I first met Yuki, I could have imagined myself becoming a photographer. After that, I was very grateful that I was able to take pictures of Yuki-san's work and be able to do it with Ayano-chan.I cried when the knit was sent to my house in a cardboard box.Various things. My feelings welled up and I cried. That was how happy I was."

In response to Mr. Wahei's words, Mr. Yuki said, "That alone makes me think 'I'm glad I continued.' answer. 10 years ago and now. Then, I walked through Inokashira Park in the spring, imagining the season that was to come.

words by Rinshi Hashimoto

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