Interview with Ryu Horike about WISM exclusive product

Hi it's Shohei.

Utility Jacket exclusively for WISM will be available on this Saturday, September 4.

Prior to the launch, we had a photo shoot with Mr. Ryu Horike, Conceptor/Buyer of WISM as a model. On the day, I asked Mr. Horike and KUON designer Ishibashi about their thoughts on the products.


1.About FANAGE COTTON Utility Jacket

2.About Utility Jacket for WISM

3.Differences between the two

4.Apploaches to the coproduced item

5.Relationship between Mr. Horike and KUON


1. About FANAGE COTTON Utility Jacket

Shohei (S; hereafter):Thank you for being in the store today. Can I ask you something about the product?

Ryu (R; hereafter): Thank you for having me tofay.

S:Could you tell us about the product?

Ishibashi (I; hereafter):Sorry to jump in, but let me start from explaining about the original product, first. This style we call "Utility Jacket" from our FW21 collection. I derived some inspirations from details of fishing jackets.

FANAGE COTTON Utility Jacket

FANAGE COTTON Utility Jacket(KUON FW21 Collection)


I:The shoulder and some pockets are switched to a different fabric than the main one. I started from the idea of making an item that looks complicated, but also has a cohesive look. There are zippers on the side hem, which help arranging the shape, and enhance ventilations.


The theme colors for our Fall/Winter 2021 collection are brown, blue and gray, and we have two of those colors: brown and blue. The main fabric is a solid cotton called FANAGE COTTON, and the switching parts are made of polyester.

S:Thank you very much. This one has a big pocket in the back, too.

I:Yup, it's a common detail in fishing and hunting jackets, but you can put large items, so you can go out without carrying bags.

S:That's a point what I like the jacket.

2. About Utility Jacket for WISM

S:Ryu, could you tell us why you chose this jacket to arrange?

R:Okay. Ishibashi just mentioned "fishing jackets," but when I first saw it at the showroom, it looked like a motorcycle jacket to me. It had a lot of pockets, and it looked...strong. 

How can I take this cool, functional, and functional jacket with lots of pockets...I don't know if "street" is the right word, but how can we make it into something that we want to wear and that is WISM. That was the first point I considered.

Anyway, it looked very conspicuous. To be honest, I never knew it had pockets in the back or zippers on the sides...


S:Are you sure??

R:I didn't notice them at all. I didn't even have to look at the details. I was like, "This is really good!" with a glance.

S:Simply you liked the jacket.

R:Yup. Super cool! But, I also felt it might be to strong for us at the same time. I thought a lot about how I could keep this coolness and bring it to daily wear, and the Utility Jacket for WISM is what I came up with.

3. Differences between the two

S:So, could you tell us the changes you guys made from the original one.

I:First of all, we decided to keep the style itself. Plus, We had communication how to make it easier to wear. We also aimed to make it suitable when we go to travel, especially for when being in a airplane. 


I:He had an idea that it would be nice to be comfortable but cool, can hold a lot of things, and doesn't wrinkle easily. First, I proposed some fabrics to him. The color was decided to be black at that time, right? 

R:Exactly. I also thought that I would never loose my keys when I wear it. 

I:I know you often loose things.

R:You were not supposed to say that (LOL)


I:So, I suggested some nylon or polyester fabrics that are wrinkle-resistant, durable, and light. But his response wasn't quite well, it seemed hard for him to make a decision only with fabric swatches. Then, I decided to make a test sample. 

S:True, it is impossible for us to imagine actual products only with fabric swatches.

I:When I made the test sample, I used a little trick on it. I used different fabrics for the right and left sides of the body. This makes it easier to compare and contrast.


S:Are you sure? Oh, I can feel the difference when I touch them.

I:Light one and crispy one. I used a wool-like strongly-twisted fabric for the contrasts. At the meeting when I showed this to him, we talked about using this (the fabric used for the product), but there are many different blacks, so it was difficult to imagine how to combine it with other fabrics and balance the texture, so we decided to make another sample. After all, it's difficult to make a decision only with fabric swatches (a 10cm square or smaller sample). Actually, before that, we were thinking about the release date, and thought that a fabric that looked like autumn and winter would be better, right?

R:Right, right...

石:However, in the fall and winter, we recently tend to wear warm inner wear, so it would be better to be able to throw it on over that. In the meantime, we thought, "With this (the fabric adopted to the products), we can wear it all year round! So we decided to go with the crispy one. It's a water-repellent fabric, so it can be worn under a certain amount of rain, and it can be washed at home, so it's easy to care for.


4.Apploaches to the coproduced item

S:Do you guys have anything else to share with us?

R:You know what, this item doesn't belong to any particular genre. It might looks like fishing jacket or anything like that, but it's beyond them. That's what I'm most happy about. When people ask me, "What's the source of this item?" I think the best thing is to be able to say, "No sources, it's the original, it's KUON."


I:I didn't make it for this season's collection because of the theme color, but I personally thought it would be really cool to have it in black. That's what I personally thought. I'm glad that Ryu told me this, because I was able to make what I wanted to make and we were able to decide on the direction together.

R:The spring/summer collaboration was more based on the image of "the first KUON I saw", but this time, the image of "the new KUON", which may sound strange, is the current KUON that has praised and has been recognized by various people outside of Japan. I wanted to do something in that "new KUON" direction.

I:I didn't know that you thought like that way. That is why it wasn't "something vintage or traditional' for this season, right.

R:That's right. I hadn't mentioned it, but in my mind, the underlying theme of my work with KUON in 2021 was a two-part story, "Part 1: The KUON of the past" and "Part 2: The KUON of the present".

S:Thank you for you time so much! I enjoyed knowing the behind the scene.  

5.Relationship between Mr. Horike and KUON

S:Lastly, could you tell us about the story how you guys met?

R:Well, I was originally acquainted with Mr. Fujiwara. When I heard that Mr. Fujiwara was going to start a brand, I was wondering what it would be like, and then he introduced me to Mr. Ishibashi, and I thought, "Oh, really? In that sense, I think the connection with KUON was formed through many conversations with the two people who started the company in the beginning. In the end, I think we all understand each other in terms of "Personality".

When people ask me, "What do you think of KUON? I would say, "It's a stylish brand.” That's about it. But if you ask me, "What kind of people are Mr. Ishibashi and Mr. Fujiwara? I can tell you a lot of things for a long long time.


RIt's a little different from friends... To put it crudely, I think of them as "people who make what I want them to make," or "people who always make something better than I expected."

I think it's an ultimate desire for consumers to be able to have the people they like make the things they like, and be satisfied with what they make. I also think people already know that.

S:You guys have worked together since the KUON' foundation?

I:Right. Our first pop-up store was taken place at WISM

R:Yup. I was like, "Hmm, that's really expensive.(LOL) The two of them were trying very hard to explain the products to me, but I was like, "OK, OK, I get it now."

I:In the first collection, the cheapest one was about 50,000 yen in retial, and the price range above that was suddenly 300,000 yen or so (lol).

R:I feel your price point has gotten surprisingly lower compared to the first collection, which means KUON has grown. I know you have so many supporters now.

S:I didn't know that.

I:The designer of ART COMES FIRST purchased some items at the first POP-UP.

R:Yea, I remember that. 


Thank you for taking your time to read through to the end.

Utility Jacket exclusively for WISM will be available at WISM ONLINE STORE, and WISM stores on this Saturday, September 4.

Don't forget to check WISM BLOG and Ryu's BLOG at HOUYHNHNM, too!!

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