“I have been commuting by bicycle for more than 10 years” says Ryota Iwai, a designer of AURALEE, a fashion brand which attracts large audiences for making simple and long-lasting clothes that resonate our time. As a fashion designer who must be aware of the seasons and adopt them into his work, a bicycle seems like an important tool which allows him to notice what is changing in the world around him.
“For instance, in July we do a Spring/Summer show while we sell Autumn/Winter clothes in store. The whole year, I am making clothes and constantly thinking about the seasons, so I often get confused which season I am actually in. Riding a bicycle helps me notice small changes in everyday life better than I would by travelling on a train. Along Kamuro Slope in Fudo-mae, which I pass every day, there is a row of cherry trees. They blossom in spring, turn green in summer, their leaves fall in autumn and by the time winter comes, they have no leaves at all. It is important for me to have a moment to feel the seasons’ transitions. This experience might not influence my work directly, but I believe, at an unconscious level it affects the clothing making of AURALEE. While riding a bicycle, I can focus on thinking about fine details and the finishings of a design. Like that, I am always thinking about my work even while riding a bicycle, but I can still keep a slight distance from it. I can have time to face myself without being distracted, which I think is a benefit of cycling”. AURALEE clothing is well adopted to modern time needs, in which people care for simple and long-lasting products. It may be the course of nature that Iwai seeks materials that provide comfort because he cycles every day and moves his body a lot. Whatever you do, when you become too busy, you tend to lose your sense of self. Especially as a fashion designer, you have to always think one season ahead. Therefore, bicycle rides clear your mind and help maintain a healthy work balance.
It takes him a 30 minute bike ride to get from his home to his office/atelier. “Except when it rains heavily, I ride a bike almost every day including weekends. The weather being too hot or too cold isn’t a reason for me not to ride. By bicycle, I can get around without worrying about time and place. It is very convenient as you can manage most things without restriction. Also, I can read the time to my destination, so I won’t be late for an appointment”. For those who do business, it is very important to travel on time, without being caught in traffic or delays. Bikes enable you to manoeuvre, keeping your own rhythm and doing things at your own pace. Furthermore, you can benefit from the time spent riding a bike. By incorporating cycling as a means of transport, you can improve your work style more efficiently. Because Iwai has been riding a bicycle for a long time and knows the benefits of it, he tends to pursue simplicity and quality for AURALEE’s clothes.
Founded AURALEE in 2015. Making clothing which enriches daily life, with selected materials from around the world. Recently, he collaborated with New Balance for a sneaker collection.
|Photo John Clayton Lee||Interview & Text Yutaro Okamoto||Translation Fumie Tsuji|