NC x Mihara Yasuhiro
Born in 1972 in Nagasaki, Japan, Mihara Yasuhiro began his design journey when he entered Tama Art Department in 1993 as a textile undergraduate. The following year, Mihara started a period of self-study making shoes and two years later in 1996 he opened his own shop “archi doom” with the support of a shoe manufacturer. After Mihara graduated in 1997, he renamed his store MIHARAYASUHIRO and started to present his collections to a wider audience. Well known for thinking out of the box, he likes people to enjoy the unique and playful nature of his designs and collections.
Tell us a little of what inspires you as a designer?
When I was a student at university I became aware of and influenced by conceptual art. I also have a real partiality for all clothes. Not only vintage clothes, which have historical value, but also ready-to-wear garments with their strong stereotypes. What comes from this partiality is a recurring theme in the way I work – a motif – taking the minimum design necessary to embody the idea.
You initially made your mark as a shoe designer but now product clothing collections for men/women plus a range of accessories. Can you tell us how this evolved?
When you imagine creating shoes there are seemingly a lot of constraints but I can also feel freedom in these limitations. If it’s easy to understand then it’s like ‘Bonsai’ – there’s an element of harmony, peace and balance. I wanted to apply this perspective to the clothes and accessories I design – making constraints to allow freedom to develop in all the collections I create.
Your sneaker/shoe designs are very unique especially the moulded soles – what processes do you use to achieve this look?
Originally, I worked at a major sports brand creating new designs and in such brands new products are developed with the latest technology. They spend huge amounts on this new technology, which isn’t possible for small brands such as ours. So my thinking was to create something that has its own nuances. First of all we expressed the sneaker sole with clay, which is difficult to shape and then we starting scanning it to make a mock up on the computer first. This is different to from the method of moulding with a 3D printer – it has its own capabilities and is the antithesis to what major sports brands do.
How did the collaboration with Nigel Cabourn come about?
Nigel is someone I consider to be a respectable designer, friend and colleague. We were talking about doing something together someday and on one of his trips to Tokyo we went to dinner and he really liked the new sneakers I was wearing. So we decided to do a collaboration sneaker. I think Nigel brings his humour and own unique art to anything he does.
Nigel is well known for his love of travel – is this something you like to do and if yes, where do you like to go?
Unfortunately, I don’t really like to travel. I rarely go abroad unless it is with work. One thing I do like doing is every Sunday I go to the beach to surf.
Finally, what do you think the future of fashion will be especially with the trend to more sustainable and ethical living?
Sustainable thinking and living is an important issue and it is inevitable. The main problem is with the supplier. In order to make the environment, society and economy sustainable in future we must not mass produce more than is necessary – ensure that we don’t grow too big. I fear the fashion industry is already too large. Big apparel manufacturers, sports brands and companies will continue to grow to gain profits. It is like a large dinosaur. But this dinosaur will go extinct at this rate and will die with everything else.