This weekend saw the opening of a brand new exhibition at Dover Street Market London celebrating the 10th anniversary of Japanese brand, visvim. Entitled “Study and Practice”, the retrospective juxtaposes prototypical vintage menswear pieces from designer Hiroki Nakamura’s extensive personal collection with those from visvim’s own line. We personally spoke with Nakamura, who took us through his vintage kimono archive and explained his passion for denim.
Hiroki began his collection at the tender age of 14, collecting turn-of-the-century American workwear and traditional noragi uniforms of Japan’s blue-collar working class. Searching rural Japan, Hiroki has amassed this museum-quality collection of vintage kimonos and American workwear that inspired him to pursue an aesthetic that combines natural indigo and an ancient craft of textiles. Their histories and idiosyncrasies can be appreciated by aficionados as well as inspire his future collections.
Each kimono is as charismatic as the next with its own style of traditional Japanese print, embellishment, and darning and repair. The eye-catching collage of textiles is undeniably contemporary in appearance, evident in his new collection as well as the slew of crafted collections (see Kapital, Unionmade, Prospective Flow) that have appeared in the denim market as of late.
Nakamura also produced a series of special items exclusive to Dover Street Market. Throughout the collection, Hiroki explores visvim’s traditional Japanese heritage, using traditional uniforms of Japan’s blue-collar working class to create modern yet classically contemporary garments. Items stay true to visvim’s ultra-clean street designs while injecting a modern play on the rough, durable workwear found throughout his archive. Included is a one-wash noragi, patch-and-repair jeans, beaded shirts and a rigid chore jacket. Mostly made from custom, hand-dyed Okayama denim, each of the garments had gone through complex dying processes to give each individual piece its own unique look.
In line with the new launches, Hiroki also created a book: Dissertation on Self-Verification 2001-2011. He was responsible for the creative and art direction and photography – it’s a true representation his vision of the brand. It includes two DVDs (one by Young Kim, another by Hiroki Nakamura) and has a washi paper cover that uses traditional Japanese binding. It comes in a box and is limited to 300 copies – DSM has 16 available to purchase.
“Study and Practice” is open now in the basement space of DSM and is set to remain open through to May 6, 2012.
Dover Street Market
17-18 Dover St.