John Skelton of oki-ni speaks to kolor’s designer Junichi Abe.
John Skelton: I’ve been observing kolor closely for about 4/5 seasons now so I’m obviously delighted that we have now been given the opportunity to work with the collection for Spring 10. I just want to ask you a few questions, not only about the collection itself but about the feeling, the inspiration and the intended message that is in mind when designing the products that are kolor. Firstly, how long has kolor been in existence for?
Junichi Abe: Five years and six months.
JS: You have made a real name for yourself as a brand and a man within the industry as the master of fabrication. Could you tell us a little bit about your history within fabric/product and how you go about constructing these extremely intricate and specialist fabrics that you make the range from?
JA: My experience as a patternmaker helps me to shape new garments and to think about the construction of the garments. As for the fabric, I have learned almost everything through my work with fabric makers over the past 15 years or so.
Read the remainder of the interview and view further selections from kolor’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection after the jump.
JS: What’s the process from your thoughts through to the execution?
JA: At first, I always think about what I should do and would like to do in the next collection which is very vague and can’t be explained in just a few words, so I try to find some keywords which represent what I have in mind to tell my team. After that process, there is no standard way to go about making a collection. It sometimes starts with the shape, and sometimes starts with the details or a fabric.
JS: Would you say the fabrics are an expression that comes from within or do you create them especially to use for certain garments that you have in mind?
JA: Fabric is one of the key factors to express what I feel and the image I have in mind. It has to be the right material for the right shape and cut. And I believe the same is true for the other way around.
JS: I’m extremely interested in the contrasts in fabric and styles that you use within your collections and how well they work together. Could you tell us a little bit about the basis of this and how you see it within a range, for instance the super intricate nylon pieces that make me reminisce about early Prada Sport collections, up against the more fluid linen/cotton mix jackets and cardigans or washed down cord pieces.
JA: It really depends on what I have in mind and what I would like to express when I’m working on the collection. For now, I’m into contradictions, so some colours and materials seem to be chosen without any respect for order or an aesthetic, but together they somehow balance well. Although depending on how I feel, I could create a completely black collection. Miuccia Prada is a designer who I have a lot of respect for, but I have never really paid much attention to Prada Sport collections.
JS: You have created a completely new feeling and aesthetic by updating classic menswear pieces and giving them a new lease of life through the use of fabrication, colour and shape. What is it that drives this aesthetic that you have created and provokes this kind of expression?
JA: Basically what it comes down to is that I am just doing my job. I try to express clearly the mood that is needed for the time through the garments I design – that’s my job. Sometimes I feel I’ve succeeded in doing so, but other times I have regrets.