As one of the first person to bring hip hop to Tokyo and the most famous taste maker in the world, Hiroshi Fujiwara has always been the subject of many different interviews by different media and publications over the years. The latest one, conducted by Interview Magazine with the help of fellow close ally and Nike’s Energy Account Manager Fraser Cooke, reveals a bit more unknown facts behind one of the most influential person within street culture.
A small portion of the interview is available for viewing after the break…
Hiroshi’s infamous shoe cupboard in his office in Harajuku, Tokyo.
COOKE: Malcolm McLaren told you that London was boring. But, as someone coming from Japan, did you actually think that London was boring?
FUJIWARA: No. It was really interesting, but it was very slow. Everything closed on Saturday and Sunday. The stores closed at 6 p.m., and if you missed, even by a few minutes, they wouldn’t let you in. Even if you knew exactly what you wanted, they’d say, “No, no, come back tomorrow.”
Some of the electronic gadgets in his office.
COOKE: The profiles of those people were pretty elevated at that time via style magazines likeThe Face and i-D—although they probably hadn’t yet reached the level of international fame they achieved later.
FUJIWARA: They were really creative, those people. It had a real impact on me. The nightclubs like Camden Palace, Cha Cha’s—you know, it was at Heaven. So there was that. And then the next thing that had a big impact on me was Stüssy. I was really into skateboarding at that time, and what people like the Bones Brigade [the ’80s skating team featuring Tony Hawk, Tommy Guerrero, and others] were doing.
Hiroshi Fujiwara (right) at Vivienne Westwood’s ‘Nostalgia of Mud’ in London, 1982
COOKE: I guess it’s fair to say that before Stüssy, streetwear was more about mixing and matching. It was about self-styling. But Stüssy managed to pull a lot of elements together and mix them up with fashion, art, and music references, etc. It was the first time that it was all presented as a package. You went on to do something similar yourself in Japan with -Goodenough.
FUJIWARA: Goodenough was definitely inspired by Stüssy, as well as the label Anarchic Adjustment from England. Shawn came from surf culture, and Nick [Philip], who founded Anarchic Adjustment, I think came from a BMX background. But I actually came from the fashion side, so maybe I knew more about fashion—and music like hip-hop because I was a DJ—so it was really successful when we mixed it all up together.
Hiroshi Fujiwara inside Vivienne Westwood’s ‘World’s End’ store in London, 1983
COOKE: How do you feel about the success and rise in influence of some of your other friends and colleagues—Jun and Nigo, for example—who have achieved a certain level of recognition outside of Japan?
FUJIWARA: I think it’s amazing. I don’t feel like that kind of thing would ever happen to me, as I’m not like those kinds of designers—I don’t want to express myself in such a categorized way. I kind of want to be in the middle of the majority and the minority. I don’t really want people to know what I am.
COOKE: New York, London, and Tokyo have provided you with inspiration for the past 20 or 30 years. But how do you feel now about the energy of those cities? How do you feel about the scene?
FUJIWARA: It has become really boring. I mean, 30 years ago, London was really happening—there was swinging London and then punk. It was really different from other cities, and so I’d always wanted to go there and see what was actually going on. After that, hip-hop was the next thing happening, so to get the records or the proper clothing, you really had to actually go to New York. But now you don’t really need to go. For example, if I see a nice photography book in New York, and I don’t want to have to carry that back to Japan with me, I just order it from Amazon when I come home. There’s no treasure-hunting anymore. It used to be like a hunt to find Air Jordans, Max 95s, and carrying them back.
COOKE: Yeah. Everything is pretty much available to everybody now. You just click online and find what you’re looking for.
FUJIWARA: It’s really convenient but kind of boring.
The interview could be read in it’s entire form here: Hiroshi Fujiwara x Interview Magazine