Originality, functionality and durability remain at the core of most brands that have stood the test of time. Those aspects apply to both maharishi and G-SHOCK who’ve partnered up to release a special version of the iconic watch manufacturer’s GD-X6900MH-1JR.
We caught up with Hardy Blechman, founder of maharishi, who knows everything there is to know about camouflage having released the most comprehensive book ever on the subject and its history. In detail, he tells us about the brand’s latest house camo pattern and applying it to their latest partnership with G-SHOCK. In addition, the European Brand Manager of G-SHOCK was on hand to tell us more about the watch itself. Check out our interview with the duo below.
This is the third collaborative effort in as many years between maharishi and G-SHOCK. How did this relationship come about?
There’s a lot of synergy between the brands that make it make sense for the both of us to do it. We’ve got a heavy graphics element to maharishi. It’s all about technology and the development of that, and I guess that they miss that graphic side, so they need some partners in that area.
We both really focus on our own products and the development of them, and we both consider product design or fashion design as very developmental – you make a great original base. You should develop that and a lot of other people that jump on trends that change from year to year; that’s not maharishi and doesn’t seem very G-SHOCK. So we both share this thing of trying to make incredibly original designs and sticking with them and developing them, and doing version excursions over the years.
We both make an effort to make products that really last – we don’t call it “toughest pants of all time” – but we might start! We are both far away from fast fashion – wear it five times and move on; make it cheap and people are going to throw it away or it wears out anyway, which is a crazy concept to think. That’s the high street.
These things really align the brands and it’s kind of obvious.
[To G-SHOCK] What is it that attracted you to maharishi?
maharishi, having established as a fashion brand in 1994 with its owner [Hardy Blechman], headed into the field of fashion with a lot of risk. This created an idea for us because their stuff is tough and unique. You also have to be tough to be a fashion designer and this was the first idea.
He [Hardy Blechman] fits perfectly because he works a lot on camouflage and always looks at it with another angle. It’s not with just a military view but more to the fact that camouflage comes from nature.
When it comes to designing something like a watch, how do you approach the design process and how do you apply maharishi’s aesthetic?
I should make it clear that I didn’t design the watch, it was G-SHOCK. We dressed the watch’s surface decoration in that respect. G-SHOCK have got a massive artillery of functionality and we work with their team to wrap together the most relevant aspects of that functionality into one watch that most suits whatever tip we’re on. So from that point of view, we get involved in the design but after that, it’s all about surface decoration.
I don’t know if they’ve been working on it for a long time or if it’s because we’ve been trying to push to cover more parts of the watch with pattern, but they’ve finally got together this technique that allows them to cover the entire strap and bezel. It’s a print technique that can go up and down any nooks and crannies. That was exciting when they told me a year or so ago that they now have the capability to do allover print and because I’m kind of into camouflage, it’s not a great leap for me to take advantage of that and to cover a watch in a disruptive pattern.
The rest of it was pretty organic and straightforward. It’s going to come out now for 2014. We’ve just launched our new pattern this season, which is a version of our house pattern of a bonsai forest, so we’ve used our season’s pattern and covered as much of the watch as we could. Then it’s a matter of placing it in the right way, coming out with the right scale and making sure that the crucial element, the pattern, is represented on the watch.
“We both make an effort to make products that really last – we don’t call it “toughest pants of all time” – but we might start!”
You have a massive archive of DPM (disruptive pattern material), which you’re renowned for. How did “Lunar Bonsai” become the final choice for this watch?
You are right, there is a big archive but we’re also doing new patterns for ourselves. However, I also design patterns for other people – The North Face, Penfield, Coleman, and a bunch of people I’ve done bespoke patterns for. They always try and reflect what the brand is about. The North Face are from the 1970s and it’s all conifer trees, so the patterns are made up of those trees, as well as obvious things like their logo. We’ve also done Penfield, a pattern made up of feathers because they do a lot of goose down jackets. So it takes a similar approach for maharishi and we come out with a new pattern. Sometimes we pull things from our archive but generally it’s a new pattern or a variation on a house pattern.
The theme of this collection follows on from last season, Pacifist Prepper, and this is Part Two of the same thing. It references this crew of people that think through economic disaster. Things might change and you won’t be able to go out and buy food in the supermarket, have transport issues or have an energy crisis, it could happen. So last season focused on people planting. It was about the berries and fruit of the English forest. The camouflage pattern was like that, too. English oak trees and edible red round berries that grow all over them.
And this Part Two focuses on the moon and its effect on this planet. The people and the plant growth, it has a massive effect. This German guy, Viktor Schauberger, in the 1930s studied water and recognized that water was more powerful if it was energized. And in nature, water naturally gets energized, but when it sits in pipes, it kind of dies. It applies to anything in nature, if there is no breeze or movement, it stagnates. Water stagnates and that’s the end of it. What we generally use from the systems we have is OK water. However, the way biodynamic farmers prepare the water, before they put it on their crops, is to put it in these big vats where they stir it anti-clockwise and then reverse the process to stir the other way, and it creates a vortex in the middle of the water like when it goes down a plughole. It’s that spiraled vortex that reenergizes the water. The water is so powerful, when they put it on plants in consideration with planetary alignment – the position of the moon specifically, although other planets have a similar effect – they do get 30% bigger plant or food yield from the same area.
If we did find ourselves in a situation where clean land was rare and you wanted to produce the most nutritious food in the smallest amount of space, you’d make sure your water was energized and you were in tune with the moon. You’d be planting when there’s a full moon then. I find all that stuff interesting, not only for plants but even for people. I notice in my own personal life the massive effect the moon has on the way I feel, especially the way my wife feels.
Did the recent full moon have any effect upon you?
It generally does. I’m sure it’s the same all over the world. During a full moon in England, they put out 30% more policeman on the streets because there’s going to be a massive increase in crime. People lose the plot. There’s more rape and violent crime during a full moon than any other time. Any little village in England, they put out more police and it happens every month. Those crimes spike specifically every full moon – that’s just a regular moon with a regular effect.
There are cycles in nature when more planets aligned with Earth; the effect becomes stronger and stronger. It is possible that every 26,000 years, there’s an entire planetary alignment – the pull is really tough and most people lose the plot.
I am really interested in it and it’s an interesting subject to be aware of, and I guess in our society, we just take it for granted. It’s quite clear the moon affects the tides and everyone is aware of that. Two-thirds of our planet is covered in water and it’s able to move this huge body and totally affects it. We [humans] are also two-thirds made up of water which is the same makeup as the planet and that water is also salty; our tears, sweat and semen. We are basically 70% salt water. If the moon is having the effect on the body of the sea, it probably has an effect on the body of water within us. So to me, I’m pretty convinced it’s there.
So, we [maharishi] started to look at images of the moon and came up with infusing the house “Lunar Bonsai” pattern with this photographic and very textural image of the moon in the background that happens to look good, too!
It’s hard in camouflage to come up with things you haven’t seen before. Although I have one or two people diss me that I bit on BBC (Billionaire Boys Club), but it’s the moon and I’ve never seen the moon in a camouflage pattern. It [camouflage] is a fresh version of something we’ve seen a million times and it has become such a staple in everyone’s wardrobe, you have to come up with new ways to present it, otherwise it’s no fun any more.
[To G-SHOCK] What are the key technical highlights of the watch launched today?
Design-wise it is the classic DW6900, but on a larger scale being 10% bigger. The challenge for us was to make it unbreakable, so we had to change construction and integrate alpha guild to protect the core of the watch. Key functions include the outer Illuminator, so it’s perfect for lunar observation. Also it has multi-home, where you can set up two different time zones.
[To G-SHOCK] How long has the all-over printing capability been available to G-SHOCK?
We launched a new product this month, our own first camouflage G-SHOCK. It was a 3D-printing process because it is not a flat surface print, but you can print on the sides and allover, and maharishi’s “Lunar Bonsai” camouflage works perfectly on it.
Interview and text by Denis Yong for Highsnobiety.com
- Photography: Ollie Adegboye