After starting his studies in Design & Creation Course of Creative Fashion Faculty, Akira Hasegawa got men’s clothing grand prix of 2011 graduate collection and graduated from men’s course.
- What made you aim at ESMOD?
- I have already decided to build my career in fashion when I was in about the third or fourth grade of elementary school.
I made patterns on self-study and realised Boston bags with a sewing machine of my parents. I was naturally already dreaming working in the fashion industry at that time.
When I was a high school student, my much older brother was living in Tokyo and that allowed me to go to several open days of fashion schools. I was vintage clothing lover and I get friends with a vintage clothing shop staff, who recommended me ESMOD. I immediately decided to join it because it offers small classes with teachers which we can easily contact and postgraduate elder students.
- How do you describe who you were after entering ESMOD?
- I couldn’t concentrate on studies in first year and I was quite bad student who slept under the desk during classes.
I wanted to make what I wear, so I really suffered women’s clothing classes. When I became second year student, I finally started to be interested in patternmaking classes and be engaged in studies, but I was not serious student, and I did only what I want to do in design classes. I failed in second year and took two years to be promoted.
When I started to study men’s clothing in third year, my attitude has completely changed. I arrived at classroom first and prepared it so that men’s clothing teacher Kakita can comfortably do his classes. I changed completely from a bad student into an example.
- What did you learn in men’s course?
- We learnt how to make suits from Kakita in third year men’s course and it really impressed me. We spend tens hours to make one bespoke garment for men by hand. I couldn’t image that such a clothing creation exists. That allowed me to get my criterion of impressing nice clothing.
That was the age where I went to a thrift shop and found a firefighting jacket made in France 100 years ago. I felt an aura around it, and it attired my attention. I couldn’t understand why it fascinated me like that, so I deconstructed it at the night of the same day. Then, tears rolled down my face naturally. It was just a workwear, but after deconstructing it I realised that it was actually made in the same order-made suit method which Kakita taught me. I was really impressed that details were really beautiful, and everything was made by hand. That was the moment which decided my life direction in the future.
- What were your activities after graduation?
- I wanted to work in a sewing factory in Okayama because I love patternmaking and sewing, but they were not offering jobs, so I applied for a job interview of a jeans manufacturer. When I was a student, I was piercing my face a lot and I went to the interview venue without removing the ornaments, because I thought it can show my personality. But other applicant students were dressing up properly, so I went to the bathroom to remove the ornaments, which led to non-stop bleeding. Because of that, I failed that interview.
I turned over a new leaf and stopped piercing for the next interview, where I got a job offer.
In the beginning of my career in that company, I told the human resource manager that I would start my independent business in the future. I worked hard and concentrated on my job.
Although my seniors helped me, I had to make difficult clothing just after joining the company. I got a chance to start my career there with making men’s jackets. I was in charge of all the woven fabric men’s clothing after 2 years.
While working there, I studied in a tailoring school on weekend. I felt that ready-to-wear is not enough and I studied under Kakita too.
I had no time to rest, but I loved creation so much, so that was not so hard.
- What is your future vision?
- I resigned my company on August 31st, 2016 to start my independent business in the next day.
There were several reasons to choose that timing. 2016 was the 350th anniversary of suiting tradition after the declaration of Charles second in 1666. That was the birth of the set of long trousers, long sleeves jacket, shirt, vest and necktie, which shares the concept with modern suits. My career was supported by making suits, so I wanted to choose that timing to dedicate myself to clothing. I started my independent business on September 1st, and I spent following three months to my own exhibition without paid jobs.
That was an exhibition of deconstructed vintage clothing of the French revolution period which were presented like specimens of insects.
I let visitors touch and learn through their own feeling habits à la française (men’s suits) which I bought from musiums.
I wanted to let people know charms of these vintage garments, which are presented in my “Half deconstructed exhibition” held in Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo.
I want to tell impression I had during school life as modelist. On the theme “Find what impressed people 100 years ago”, I want to do anything which I can do. I’m ready to work for various things, and I want to launch my own brand too. I want to keep several ways to work for fashion, because we are in the age where people are losing interest to it.
- Please give a message to people who are going to aim to fashion.
- I want them to start with doing what you love as much you want.
Don’t miss the age where you are sensitive to work thoroughly and in earnest for what you love.