FUKU-ZUKURI 4.0 featuring junhashimoto & sitateru
junhashimoto, Designer, Mr. Jun Hashimoto x sitateru, President, Mr. Hidekazu Kawano
This is an experimental project that Fashion Designer directly collaborates with apparel factories through IT platform. Desingner, Jun Hashimoto, and Sitateru providing IT platform joined this project. You can check collections made by junhashimoto & Sitateru and understand the creation process in the exhibition.
[ junhashimoto Website ] http://junhashimoto.com/
[ shitateru Website ] https://sitateru.com/
As the utilization of digital services to promote cooperation between fashion designers and upstream textile companies gathers even more attention, “FUKU-ZUKURI 4.0” is being realized as a demonstrative project of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Under the project management of Roland Berger, part of the junhashimoto 2017 Autumn/Winter collection to be presented at the Amazon Fashion Week TOKYO, has been made in cooperation with sitateru, a company that provides IT platforms for clothing manufacturing. On March 20th, 21st, an installation introducing the production processes of this project will be opened, and an experimental “See now, Buy now” exhibition allowing people to order items from the junhashimoto 2017 Autumn/Winter collection on the spot, will be held at the 8th floor of Shibuya Hikarie, between March 20th ~ 22nd. We would like to introduce this endeavor through an interview with Mr. Jun Hashimoto, the Designer of junhashimoto, and Mr. Hidekazu Kawano, the President of sitateru.
The theme of “FUKU-ZUKURI 4.0” is to suggest a new method of creating clothing by designers and factories. Please explain to us what kind of services sitateru offers.
Mr. Kawano：sitateru offers the nation’s first clothes production platform service that realizes “short delivery term / high quality / small lots” production of clothes, by managing data on “time / skill / resources” of superior factories, through the internet. Our forte is our ability to answer to various needs, and ability to make suggestions.
Mr. Hashimoto： I learned about sitateru for the first time through this project, but I felt theirs’ is a service that matches the needs of today. In making clothes, information on factories are basically limited to those we have connections with. When I was offered this opportunity, I had just been thinking that if a partner factory says they can’t do it when I’m trying to challenge new things, then I’d hit a wall and so it’s a problem I need to solve.
Mr. Kawano：Using the power of technology, we simplify the selection of factories, and specialized staff called “sitateru concierge” will support the designer’s production up to delivery. Having seen junhashimoto brand clothes, my impression is that they are clothes that show beautiful silhouettes when worn. I think the brand is especially popular among smart business men of today.
Mr. Hashimoto：That’s a sharp observation (laugh). As a matter of fact, our brand has a hidden theme of “plus 3 cm, minus 3 kg”. The silhouette may look ordinary when hung on a hanger, but my designs are calculated in such a balance to make the wearer look a bit taller and skinnier.
What kind of item did you make this time?
Mr. Hashimoto：We made an outer, top, and pants. We asked sitateru to do everything from choosing the material from the pattern, to garment manufacturing. By entrusting the whole process to them consistently, I was able to gain a strong realistic feel of the merits and appeal of sitateru’s endeavors.
Mr. Kawano：During our production meetings, you gave us a keyword of “fusion of super casual and super classic”.
Mr. Hashimoto：It was about the chino material set-up, I asked them to give it a classic-like finish with number 0 thread and AMF stitching. These are contradicting elements so it is actually quite difficult. A number 0 thread is thick like a kite string, and AMF stitching is a fine, hand-sawn-like stitch used in suits.
Mr. Kawano：That’s true. It was the first time we’ve ever received a request for a combination of number 0 threads and AMF stitching. Such exciting production has its difficulties, but we feel a sense of satisfaction in clothes-making by fulfilling such designers’ trifles without compromise.
From a designer’s point-of-view, what is the forte of sitateru?
Mr. Hashimoto：Above all, I think their strength is in the number of factories they have dealings with. As I have mentioned earlier, if the factory we usually deal with or OEM companies says “can’t do that” to new ideas, usually the idea stops right there. But because the number of factories in the sitateru network is so remarkably large, they can find a factory befitting the job and answer to the need.
Mr. Kawano：At the moment, we are linked with 250 factories nation-wide. This is one of the characteristics of our service, but by narrowing down information on factories using our originally developed powers of technology, time and cost can be reduced much more than searching by man-power.
Mr. Hashimoto：They really answered all our needs, and the delivery time was exact, so the production cost felt well worthwhile. In addition, from my field staff, I’ve heard that communications needed to produce clothing was smooth and went efficiently, using sitateru’s chat system, “my atelier”.
Mr. Kawano：The number of designer’s brands utilizing our system is increasing, and with that, the number of factories with skills to pride coming to us saying “at our factory, we can do this” has been increasing also. A production-friendly atmosphere for brands is starting to grow. Especially now-a-days, we have increasingly been receiving requests from brands and/or shops to handle production which cannot be done in normal production lines, such as small lot items, and items with complicated specifications. Essentially, work from designer’s brands are worthwhile and profitable for factories. However, the problem was the instability in rate of operation due to small lots. By making the rate of operation visible upon the sitateru platform and matching up, this problem can be solved.
Please tell us the highlight of the exhibition and installation that will be held at Shibuya Hikarie?
Mr. Hashimoto：The clothes are one thing of course, but this time, especially for textile companies and apparel related people, I really wish for them to acknowledge sitateru in this opportunity. Regardless of whether you’re on the factory side or apparel side, good things should be utilized by everyone.
Mr. Kawano：It’s encouraging to hear that from a designer like Mr. Hashimoto.
Mr. Hashimoto： think material companies and production agencies need to be skilled in suggestive ability, but with sitateru, communication aspects such as material selection went smooth, which was a big help.
Mr. Kawano：In working on this case, Mr. Hashimoto also pointed it out to us and I anew my feelings that we need a “status indication function”, that allows checking the production status by smart-phone. He says, it will make it easier for the brand to make schedules.
Mr. Hashimoto：Being able to grasp the production status timely, will increase a sense of security.
Please tell us of your future plans.
Mr. Kawano：While numerous factories exist nationwide, I wish to create a future in which seamless connection between factories and the side that requires production will be realized, utilizing technology efficiently. Furthermore, we’ve built a platform in which not only professional fashion designers, but people of industries other than apparel can also make clothes easily, and we hope we can play a part in invigorating the industry, as a whole.
Mr. Hashimoto：For example, if a designer joins hands with sitateru, then item suggestions to companies of other industries can be made with design and production ability as a set, enabling receiving orders consistently, from design up to production.
Mr. Kawano：Mr. Kawano: That’s right. To strengthen our design suggestion function, I’m hoping to cooperate with designers, to create a new synergy.
The effectiveness of fashion designers producing clothing utilizing IT platforms has been made clear through this demonstrative project. In the future, not only sitateru, but others that provide similar IT services are sure to arise, and service will surely be enriched. However, how it will be utilized, whether or not it will be put into the best of its effectiveness in the production of collections, is up to fashion designers. And as cooperation between fashion designers and IT platforms progress, the form of collaborations will surely expand.