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When visvim originally launched back in 2001, the Japanese men’s apparel label rocked the industry with its niche folkwear designs. Fast forward over a dozen years later, the brand has placed itself at the very top of the high-end ladder, thanks in large part to their FBT Moccasin.

Apart from the silhouettes themselves, visvim has also separated itself from the rest of the pack with its usage of select materials like reindeer suede – and despite what appears to be a simplistic application on their products, there’s a intricate story behind Visvim’s spearhead and what goes into his creative process.

Thanks to Montreal-based fashion boutique SSENSE, we’re not getting a glimpse into that very process. Hiroki Nakamura recently sat down to talk about his travels, creative mind, and more – it’s a read worth checking out if you’re a fan of anything fashion related. See below for excerpts from the interview, and for more from SSENSE, check out their interview with Alexander Wang.

Hiroki Nakamura on becoming a designer:

“I don’t know why, but I was really attracted to outdoor, Americana, utility gear. I’m not that sporty a person, but back then, I thought I was. I went to Alaska with friends as a teenager, and I remember when I was packing I would think about every piece and how the colors would match, even down to the socks and hats. And that I was the only one of my friends who cared.”

On his passion for natural dyes:

It is really exciting to me! Especially when you mix it with manufacturing in a modern way—it opens up a lot of possibilities. Sometimes we use a technique where we bury shoes in the mud. We dig a hole in the ground, and put them there for two weeks, then dig them out and clean off the bacteria. We just don’t sell those shoes wholesale.

Words by Marcus Cho