– Please tell us about what Hender Scheme advocates, `a concept rising above gender scheme`, as well the root of the brand.
I studied psychology in university where I had learned a bit about gender theory, so I always had interests in the gender gap especially within design. Though my interest was not in the physical gender gaps, but rather social. My will to create things without having any gender borders led me to the brand’s name. It is not parted into men’s and women’s category by design, which is the core of the brand, but there is a slight difference in last shapes to accommodate physical differences. The gender gap in external forms, which I do respect, is a part of the brand’s axis. The other axis is the process of materialising products, which not only consists of products themselves but other external aspects that affect the process of their creation. Focusing on these factors, I create my products in Asakusa (an authentic downtown Tokyo area ). My statement is that a product can only be finalised by it being used. I believe that products themselves are not completed when the production is finished. Products are completed only when they are used by someone.
– Did you always want to do your own brand?
“Not really. Running a brand is not my purpose but it is my method. The important things for me are what can be communicated and expressed through the brand, and how they can be managed within it. So right now it feels more like I am running this brand as an outlet to create things. It is necessary to have a brand when you want to deliver products to people, and to me that is Hender Scheme.”
– What characterizes the products of Hender Scheme is the use of leather. Why leather?
The initial reason is that I first worked at a shoemaking factory. Before then, I had a vague desire to create something but I didn’t really have a specific idea, whether it be shoes or clothes. Simply my starting point happened to be shoes made of leather.
– How come you create form of existing sneakers with leather as Manual Industrial Product (MIP)?
“I wanted it to be something that brings you the feeling of not only products but the presence of people using them. By basing my designs on existing products and giving them a new twist, I thought that their echoes would evoke memories or thoughts in everyone’s mind. Generally, I think there is a certain culture when it comes to sneakers, that a brand new pair is always the best. So I used this concept and reversed it. Sneakers are normally disposable, but I try to input an essence to my shoes that existing sneakers do not have, such as being repairable or improvement with age by “changing” their shape.”
– Since 2015 you have been showing your collection in Paris. You’ve been very active abroad.
“I think we gained recognition gradually by being featured on websites and printed magazines from overseas. We never planned to change anything in order to be recognised outside Japan, however our stockists kept increasing. Before showing in Paris, we already had about 20 accounts; so the main purpose initially was to show the buyers the actual products and our full collection. That time, MIP line was the most popular amongst them, but since we have other products too, I wanted to show everything as one collection.”
– There is a theme given to each collection, but at what point do you decide on it?
“It is nothing really specific, I just pick up words that express the attitude of the brand so it doesn’t influence the products that much. I would say it’s a word to inform people of the collection’s concept while keeping it vague and abstract.”
– What does it mean for you to create things?
To create something with resources you have. There actually are people who purchase it my creation, so this comes with responsibility. Without missing that point, we want to give you new choices rather than forcing you to choose. If someone likes and wants to own them, I am pleased.
– What would be the next creative challenge?
Continue what we do, while we manage our craftsmen, factory and ourselves. There is no specific goal, but just continue our work. It would be best if we could express freely within this environment.