Hiroki Nakamura approaches fashion with vagrant fascination. Working in menswear in his earlier years, he’s seen trends come and go, clothing become more generic and it’s quality downgraded. He then created Visvim, a product that fulfilled the authenticity that he was searching for. Laura Vignale talks to Hiroki about his brand and philosophies.
What kind of trouble did you get into back in your younger years?
I was always getting into trouble. I was working for Burton in the action sports industry back then and I was traveling a lot with all the team riders. It was so much fun.
What does Visvim mean? Is their a story behind the name?
I wanted it to have a brand with no meaning and wanted to make up my own name. I started researching and eventually started looking into the the latin dictionary to find inspiration. I liked V-lettered logos so I looked through the “V” section of the dictionary. I found “vis”, then I found “vim” and visually I liked how they looked together. The word “Vis” does have a kind of positive meaning around the idea of force and
energy;things coming together.
Why did you decide to create Visvim anyways?
I always wanted to make my own product. I wanted to create something authentic. I have been studying what other brands had produced and I felt the need to produce my own.
have anyone else run my business for me. For me it’s important to drive the business and the creative.
It’s a delicate balance.
my head before I can start to develop and produce a product. There are products that just came into
the market now that have been works in progress for the last ten years!
the following season you went North to run with wild animals and learn to make shoes from
the local people there. Do you think you are nomadic in the way that you wander in search of
the best methods and supply?
best manufacturers. I’m trying to make an industrial product that has my personal touch. I might get
inspiration from Norway or Italy.
know that it has integrity.) I think in any creation it’s important to put your philosophy into it. I’m sad
when I see things being produced without any personal feelings.
of the best high-end fashion designers. One day they came to my shop and saw my products and told me
they wanted to show me something. The asked me to please come to Italy. So I went to their factory in
Como and they showed me their archives. There was a 1meter sample of fabric of everything they have
produced in the last 150 years. It was amazing!
Now they are using a new technology in their factory but they still keep the same level of quality that they have maintained for all those years. There’s no question that the ones made by hand still have more feeling and personal touch, but this new machine technology was thoughtfully created so that the philosophy on how the fabric that it produces is still pure and high end. That’s how they are creating their products and that’s
now exactly what I am doing too.
This is a really difficult question to answer. I actually ask myself this question too. For me it’s interesting to try to understand different cultures. I think I naturally do because I’m always traveling and I am exposed to so many different types of people. So I guess it depends. For example, with my team in Japan I use Japanese standards and with my Europeans vendors I have to use Europeans standards. I like American culture. When I was a teenager, I was definitely influenced by it. I’m a big fan of American Menswear, especially 1950’s, 60’s and 70s. To me its important having this kind of democratic philosophy towards everything that is very unique and creative. It encourages a creation of something new. I try to keep my eyes open to all cultures around me.
Japanese food is very unique. When you grow up with this kind of culture around food it’s hard to get away from it. I know all the good Japanese restaurants outside of Japan.
Inspiration comes from everywhere. Like talking to someone like you, I get ideas from our conversation, and visiting places like Montauk. In my head I am focused on making good products and then the creative inspiration I get from my experiences adds to it.
Actually no, I’m just a guy making products. I’m not that sensitive. It’s very simple. It’s not a big deal. You can call me anything you want, but I’m just a guy making products.