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madeincharlie: Welcome To The Neighborhood: Shinsuke Takizawa...

By :Anwar Washington 0 comments
madeincharlie: Welcome To The Neighborhood: Shinsuke Takizawa...


Welcome To The Neighborhood: Shinsuke Takizawa

British Punk was my biggest influence. People find it strange that I wasn’t really interested in American fashion back then because a lot of people think my brand is heavily American influenced. In Tokyo during the 80s, fashion was all about British fashion – London and designers like John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood, to be specific. The influence of American fashion came much later. I used to dream of dressing like the kids hanging out in London clubs who I saw in magazines. I used to look through those magazines that were filled with photos of punk kids for hours on end. I’m still really interested in what’s going on style-wise in London now. 

All my friends were hanging out in the small neighborhood of Harajuku and I liked the idea of it so I named the brand based on that. In the beginning our business was mainly importing clothes from outlet stores in the States. Both TET, my partner and designer of WTAPS, and I were completely amateur buyers so everything wasn’t planned out and was pretty irresponsible. I remember looking at a map of America and we found a city called buffalo and said to each other, ‘Look! This city sounds pretty cool, maybe there’s something between there and New York!’ We ended up driving all the way dropping by outlet malls in between the two cities. We bought a bunch of outdoor related clothing and products all of which sold really poorly. We also bought a lot of RRL [Ralph Lauren] shirts, which were popular and hard to find back then, but they sold poorly as well. We thought to ourselves, ‘Shit we’ve got to do something to get rid of them!’ So we decided to screen print our own graphics on them and that actually worked out really well. I guess that’s what started us thinking about producing our own clothing.

Back then was an innocent carefree time, and now I have to focus on the business. In the first couple of years, I never really had to care about anything – I just did whatever I wanted, but these days I have to think more about the business especially the way the economy is right now. When we started Neighborhood, we didn’t even have an office! But that didn’t really matter. We had complete freedom and everything we made sold out immediately. We never could hold in to any stock in our store because everything would sell out so fast. We were completely different from the other brands and I guess maybe looked fresh to all the kids. There wasn’t much choice around that time so that’s probably another reason why we were so successful and the kids wanted something new. We were never a big company but slowly we have been growing bigger over the years. The longer you’re in business, the market grows bigger. But when you are in this business as long as we have you may no longer look fresh, so we’ve been fighting to establish and maintain our own identity. Our identity is based on street culture we are outsiders in the fashion industry in Japan, the way we started and the way we operate, the industry has always ignored us. We never do your typical collection shows and are very independent business. I totally understand the value of showing a collection to the whole industry and there are some brands that do that whom I respect, but I also believe that there should be some brands that take another direction and that’s what Neighborhood is all about.

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